Learning that your child has a disability can be difficult for parents, mainly due to the uncertainty involved. Living with a disability is so unfathomable for most able-bodied people that they immediately assume the worst fate for their child. Although it’s true that being disabled can bring its share of adversity, a strong-willed and loving parent can help their child overcome absolutely anything.
It might be tempting to start slipping into negativity when you find out your child is disabled; when minds start racing out of control, bad things can happen. But remember that people with disabilities live incredible lives: just take it from me! Try to stay positive and don’t let your focus slip from loving your child and raising them to the best of your ability. Your positivity will rub off on your child and bolster their determination.
Focus on What They Can Do
I don’t really like the term “disabled,” I prefer “differently-abled.” The reason is pretty simple: a disability focuses on what a person can’t do when what we should all really be focusing on is what they can do. In my case, being born without arms forced me to adapt and develop skills that I otherwise might not have discovered. All disabilities are different, of course, so instead of
Don’t Pity Them; Challenge Them Instead
There is nothing more insulting than being pitied, especially if you have pride and self-respect. People with disabilities don’t want your pity; they want an equal chance to succeed. What this means for you is that you should continually challenge your children to succeed just like you would with any other child; if you purposely “go easy” on your disabled child because you pity him or her, you are doing them a disservice. The world is a tough place and it takes mental toughness to succeed, and the only way mental toughness can be built is by continually overcoming challenges.
My name is Jessica Cox, and being born without arms inspired me to never stop trying to achieve incredible things. I benefitted from having parents that challenged me to be the best I can be, and I hope to do the same for you! If you’re interested in having me speak at your next convention, meeting, or faith-based gathering, call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website.