Lessening the impact

In the 1960’s when I was born, the situation for children with disabilities was very different. Parents didn’t always know how to deal with their child with the disability.

There was also a stigma behind disability and rather than embrace the disability, those children were considered outcasts. Parents were embarrassed about their children and what other parents and society would think. Disability also didn’t come with an instruction leaflet, so parents found it hard to understand how to help their child.

Times have moved on thankfully and parents now are learning to embrace their children and what their children bring to their lives. They see themselves as fortunate. Parents strive to lessen their child’s disorder and its impact, so that their child will go on to reach their emotional, physical and mental potential, alongside their other children who don’t live with a disability.

The children that deal with a disability and who are sometimes encouraged to work and study alongside their peers in mainstream school, will be more fulfilled and should go on to lead more productive lives.  There are statistics, which indicate that participation in every day activities with both disabled and non-disabled children help those children living with a disability become well-adjusted adults.

Learning to navigate mainstream school at an early age will also result in better integration as that child grows. Treating children normally as if they are not disabled (although addressing the disability where needed) helps them see themselves as challenged individuals and not disabled.

Studies have shown that it is important for children to be encouraged by their parents to look for emotional support from different sources early on, well into adulthood, so as to ease the emotional impact of their Cerebral Palsy. As children grow, so do their emotional needs. If their emotional needs are never addressed they will struggle.

Parents are not always the right source of help for their children, as their are too many emotional ties attached to the relationship. A child may find that difficult to navigate. Children are also scared about the things they know nothing about. It’s important to talk to a child about what they go through, their disorder, research and treatments.

Allow that child to be involved in decisions that have to be made, associated with what they deal with. In doing so that child’s confidence will grow. Understanding a child’s needs is the key to emotional stability for anyone growing up, but more so with a disability, however large or small that disability may be. Even if we see the disability as being small, emotionally it may seem twice as big.

We must always be patient and tolerant. It is hard caring for someone with a disability, but it is even harder being the one having to live their life with the disability itself, whatever the disability.


24 Jun, 2010

4 thoughts on “Lessening the impact

  1. I was always lucky. I always went to school with able bodied kids, with the exception of 2. Both of who were in a wheelchair.

    I found the hardest period was when I was about 16. Going through all the changes a person goes through at that age. Dating was strange, I only dated people who had broken up my other friends.

    I only went out with two people in all of high school. No prom. I actually feel like I missed out on a lot in high school socially. I paid the price later on for this when I started forming friendships. That did not come easy.

    I find if a person clicks with another person it just happens. I have had 3 relationships like that. It is like you have known that other person your whole life. Such relationships are rare. They should be treasured.

    1. Randy, I missed out on all of that; partly because of my cerebral palsy. No-one really paid attention to me and if they did it was for all the wrong reasons, but mostly because of my parents.

      I think if I had have been encouraged, I would have had the confidence to do more within my boundaries. It doesn’t matter now.

  2. This was sooooo true! I can still remember the difficult people and the times of turmoil growing up like it was yesterday Ilana.

    I feel that the children of today’s society are far more accepting of their disabilities than we were and they look at their able-bodied piers on the same footing.

    Hopefully this will get even better into the future? There is so much in encouraging our peers!

    1. Mike I cannot remember fully what happened in school as far as my CP was concerned. I know I didn’t have encouragement and I know I had other children stare at me, but cannot remember anything else.

      I think the acceptance of children with disabilities today comes down to other people’s acceptance of them through society and family structure. If families get it right, so will the children.

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