My son Tadhg


My son Tadhg was born with Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay, which affects him both physically and intellectually and as a result Tadhg is non-verbal.

We are constantly learning all the time from Tadhg. He has been our best teacher on this journey. We of course have been given tips over the years to help with his communication needs, but Tadhg has always invented his own way to communicate, which amazes me all the time.

I have to think for Tadhg. Because he is also physically disabled, it makes it that bit harder for him to express his needs.  If he wants to go over and play, he can’t just get up and go over; he needs our help to do these things and that’s why observation is so important.

Tadhg can get left behind at times, as he can’t shout out and say he wants to join in. He can’t walk over to join other children, so he relies heavily on others noticing that he might want to be included in other people’s fun. We constantly have to observe Tadhg to figure out what he might want.

I know if my daughter or younger son comes into the room, Tadhg instantly smiles and gets excited. He loves having them in the room as he knows they will come over and tickle him or offer him a toy to play with.

Unfortunately, being non-verbal has its many obstacles for Tadhg on a daily basis.  Because Tadhg doesn’t speak, it’s often assumed that he doesn’t understand what you’re saying to him.  Tadhg’s understanding is great and he may not be able to answer back, but he will listen. What I have learned as a parent to a non-verbal child; is that language is just a small part of how we communicate.

We communicate through our expressions, through our eyes, through a smile, gestures, body language. I have learned so much from observation and to me that is the key, constant observation. It could be a movement of the leg, a wave of a hand or a pat at the mouth, a shout, a hair pull, to let you know a need. It’s becoming more aware and more sensitive to Tadhg’s needs and reading these signals and not just seeing it as a random movement but an expression of communication.

In an ideal world, language is obviously the easiest way to get our message across, but if we focus too much on that we’re going to miss the other forms of communication. It’s the simple things in life that matter. When Tadhg smiles it makes our day, as we know we’ve done something right! Tadhg is our teacher and always will be.

Bio: In 2009, Amanda gave up work to take care of her son Tadhg on a full-time basis, after he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Global Developmental Delay in March 2009, at the age of 10 months old. Amanda currently lives in Co. Kildare with her husband Greg and three children, Emily, Tadhg and Dylan. Her book TJ and His Wheelable Chair was published in December 2016 through Austin Macauley Publishers and is available to purchase through Amazon.

3 Mar, 2017

12 thoughts on “My son Tadhg

  1. The understanding, warmth and positivity in Amanda’s Guest Blog is wonderful. There is a lesson for us all in there.

    Thank you for arranging this Blog. I will certainly take a look at her book.

  2. Yes, it’s amazing how certain situations can turn us into better people. Dealing with any special need child is heart felt.

    I believe it is only when we are faced with these circumstances that we learn what it is to be empathetic, compassionate, caring and tolerant; they show us a different way to be and it is showing us a different way that we become better people.

    Special needs’ children teach us about life and Amanda’s story about her son, Tadhg does just that.

  3. It’s so amazing to see so many people making the most out of difficult situations. I saw a quote the other day that said: ‘The best people are not given the greatest situations, they just make the situations they are given great’ and I think this really hits the nail on the head.

    One thing we should all be working towards is happiness, but happiness comes from so many different places. It is not about having no struggles, it is about moving past our struggles the best we can. We can learn a lot from Tadhg.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. Thanks Claudia. I love the quote you’ve used. It fits in beautifully. Yes, and even if we can’t make certain situations great, because that’s not always guaranteed; we can and give of our best with what we’re given.

      There are so many messages filtering through Amanda’s blog, particularly how others can teach us a better way to be just through sharing their experiences.

      Amanda is clearly Tadhg’s emotional support and wears it well. Both inspirational and heartfelt. I love this blog.

  4. Thank you all so much for such lovely comments and feedback on my Guest Blog. It was lovely to be asked to write a blog.

    Tadhg has taught me a whole new wonderful way of looking at the world and I feel we have grown so much as a family, as we are constantly learning from every situation that comes our way.

    Thank you so much again, it really means a lot.

    1. Thanks Amanda. It’s lovely to have you on the site and post such a heartfelt response.

      Having Cerebral Palsy myself I resonate with your words completely. I love the fact that you have embraced your life with Tadhg with open arms and see his life as a blessing.

      Children with special needs like Tadhg are such a blessing and show us a different way to be; but not all families will get that right, as my case has shown. But it’s a life to be savoured, a life to be nurtured and a life to be treasured.

      You are one very special family with a very special boy named Tadhg.

  5. Thank you Amanda. You’ve given this site a combination of wisdom and love in abundance.

    We welcome you and Tadhg with open hearts.

  6. Ageing and frailty happens to the “lucky” people who value living. My wife came into my first-ever marriage when I was 45 years old. More than 20 years later, she has learned to be non-verbally sensing, anticipating my communications.

    My decades of caring for adult-cripples before our marriage, enabled me to teach her this “skill” by my non-verbal example and patience.

    1. Hi Greg and welcome to the site. Thank you for sharing your response with us and telling us about your inspirational story with your wife.

      I agree with you when you say that ageing and frailty happens to those who value living and I think that’s key. Regardless of disability, When we value life, we work hard at wanting to stay this side of it.

      Yes, life will still have its ups and downs and that’s always hard, able-bodied or not, but we still choose to make the best of what we deal with. Thanks for posting and please feel free to post again.

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