My MissionI have been there before. As the mother of a child with a developmental disability, I vividly remember the day I was presented with my son's diagnosis. Frankly, they got it all wrong. In this case, "they" is the staff of the hospital where my son was born. The diagnosis itself was correct. But the way my family and I were treated couldn't have been much worse, or much more biased.I was setup to believe that the hardest road on earth lay ahead of me. That it was littered with detours, speed bumps and potholes. And that I should brace myself for a sudden and premature end to that road. In short, they made a situation that could have gone many ways go the worst way it could have.I still face this same bias in her everyday life, and it's part of what fueled my career as a comedian. With Kind Words is my way to educate the people that can arguably do the most good in a situation like mine- the staff members that come into contact with the people they want to help. And while people are trained professionally on their interactions with families of children with developmental disabilities, I want to give another perspective to this situation, that of the caregiver. With humor, insight and a unique sense of intimacy, I will shed a whole new light on how your words and your attitude matter more than you could ever know.
About Patti VasquezPatti Vasquez is the host of The Patti Vasquez Show on Chicago’s WGN Radio, a stand up comedian and co-creator of the upcoming series “Patti Happens.”
Patti was born and raised in Chicago and is an internationally performing comedian. As a host, Patti quickly claimed the number 1 spot for late night radio. She has appeared as a commentator on WGN- TV Morning News and Fox Good Day Chicago. She also served as a fill-in host for WCIU’s You & Me in the Morning. Patti was recently honored by the National Museum of Mexican Art and The University Of Illinois for her contributions to art and advocacy work.
Patti has two little boys: Griffin, 12, who is gifted, kind hearted and the best big brother to Declan, 10. Declan is differently gifted, charming and was born with a neurological abnormality called Corpus Callosum Disorder. Although he is missing a small part of his brain, Declan has made the world a much bigger place for his family and everyone lucky enough to know him.
In 2014, Patti created a company called “With Kind Words” in which she provides consultation for healthcare providers. She urges them to consider the emotional readiness of every member of the team, from the health professional to the caretakers, as they strive to ensure the best possible outcome. She incorporates humor and personal experiences as the mother of a child with special needs to lead her audience on an intellectual and emotional journey. She strives to help audiences recognize how they can incorporate compassionate communication and inspire them to do it well.
While still hosting her eclectic and wildly successful radio show, Patti began working with ABC to develop a sitcom based on Patti’s life. She graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a degree in History. She later disappointed her parents by dropping out of Northwestern’s Ph.D program to become a stand up comic. It all worked out in the end. Or at least, so far so good.
Everything was fabulous! Patti had just the right mix of comedy and disability information for our group. She also did a wonderful job of reaffirming the work that the group does. Many of the participants were at the end of their fourth day of conferences but left that room reenergized. I know I personally am still smiling at some of her stories. One woman shared that she doesn’t laugh out loud in public but while listening to Patti couldn’t help herself. (I also learned how precisely Patti’s worded everything because when I tried to repeat a line or two at home my husband just stared at me. Clearly I left a lot out.)
I write as an active and involved member of the board at Raue Center for the Arts in Crystal Lake...We work with hundreds of artists and it is always a pleasure when every staff member from backstage to box office speaks highly of the artist...This is the case with Patti...she was a joy to work with. She went out of her way to be friendly with staff and patrons alike, staying until every last person who wanted to see her left...We are all looking forward to her return to Raue....(oh and yes Patti was hilarious with her show of the evening Lipstick Mom)
Patti was unbelievable! From the moment she walked in, she was warm, funny and ready to go. Extremely professional and easy to work with. She was able to connect with this group so well. One minute they were laughing, the next they were crying, then a minute later laughing again. I’ve had so many emails, calls and personal visits thanking me for bringing her here, I can’t even count them anymore.
Additionally, I wanted to thank you for being so responsive to me. Your customer service, follow through and willingness to work with us made it such a pleasure.
It may seem like I’m gushing a bit, but I don’t often see the level of professionalism that I received from you and Patti.
Thank you again for everything.