Julia Latscha would love to know how her daughter, who has multiple disabilities, sees the world. But even without this knowledge, there are many things in Germany that the author would like to change concerning the dealing of people with disabilities. What she wants for her daughter and why she can fight like a lioness for her children, but doesn't dare to spend a night alone in the forest, she tells us at REHACARE.com.
Name: Julia Latscha Age: 42 City: Berlin, Germany Occupation: author, board of directors of the German Foundation for Education Relation to Impairment: Two children, ages 14 and 11. Due to lack of oxygen at birth, my daughter (14 years old) has multiple disabilities.
Julia Latscha: I love to laugh out loud. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happen very often over the past few years. I have told myself to laugh more and worry less. I haven’t laughed yet today, but I laughed yesterday when I was in the woods with my children. We laughed so loudly, the pine cones on the trees started to vibrate. First, it was artificial laughter because it was so unusually quiet there and then we laughed about our artificial laughter. And ultimately, we laughed because all three of us were suddenly happy at the same time.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Julia Latscha: Lying down alone in the woods at night, watching the countless stars in the sky and listening to the sounds of all the nocturnal animals. Despite the wheelchair, I traveled through a rough terrain like Mongolia with my children, met shamans and miracle healers, made a pilgrimage to Lourdes with my daughter and fought health insurance companies and several case managers from the youth welfare office. I can roar as loudly as a lion and brave clueless people. Yet I still have a difficult time being alone at night. There are ghosts lurking under my bed and monsters hide behind the curtains. I think a night in the forest could have a healing effect. But when will I finally be brave enough to do it?
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Julia Latscha: My children because they manage to make me question my own attitudes to where I let go of convention and learn to overcome my inner and outer limitations. Every day they teach me to be brave and open-minded.
Julia Latscha would change many things for her daughter, who has multiple disabilities, so that she could grow up in a country where she is not something special, but simply belongs to it.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled in your country. What would you do first?
Julia Latscha: I would fight so people with disabilities and their family members would no longer have to file so many applications, and I would advocate less genuflection and more approval. We need a support system that is not shaped by distrust and geared towards actual needs instead. People with disabilities would get the support they need, families would be strengthened and not be torn apart due to lack of help.
What is especially important to you?
Julia Latscha: Something that’s especially important to me is for both of my children to someday be able to live outside of the family and be included in society. For my disabled daughter, I hope that she will not end up living in an institution, in a parallel universe and a special facility. I want for her to live a full and self-determined life as much as possible. This is the only way we will be able to let go of each other. And that’s something that is very important to me.
I would like to be ...
Julia Latscha: ..my daughter for just one hour and see the world in her eyes. I would definitely be able to realize and understand many things much better.
Which questions would you like answered the most?
Julia Latscha: How does my daughter see the world? What does she think about life, about her brother and me? Why does our society distinguish between what’s normal and what isn‘t? When will what’s special become something that’s completely normal?
What I finally want to say...
Julia Latscha: I would like to mention that I published my first book this year. It’s titled "Lauthalsleben, von Lotte dem Anderssein und meiner Suche nach einer gemeinsamen Welt" (English: Living Loud and Fully. About Lotte, Being Different and My Search for a Common World).