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Something About a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis That I Want Everyone to Know

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This is who I am, and there’s something I want every parent/family member and even kids with cerebral palsy to know…

First of all, to the moms, dads or anyone who raises a child with complex special needs: You are truly amazing! I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have without my family. Your child will need you every bit of the way. I bet this isn’t exactly how you expected things to turn out, but if you have come this far — then you can do anything, even if the obstacles seem insurmountable. There’s great strength to be found in the human condition.

There will be days, terrifying days, where you’re uncertain and feel like crumbling against the weight of it all, but I encourage you to hold on just a little bit tighter to each other. Don’t alienate yourselves or try to face everything on your own. In the face of great difficulties, you’re strongest as a unit. Moms and dads, try not to neglect yourselves for the sake of your children. They will need you, but you have to be healthy too. Remember that in your child’s eyes, you’re the industrial strength super glue that holds the fabric together. As the parents, you guys are a team, so take the time to go out on dates and spend time together alone. Not only is this good for you guys, but it expands your child’s life as well by introducing other people into their world. Also take special care in spending time with your other children. They need to know and understand they’re just as important and special and worthy of being loved.

Don’t worry about what your child isn’t doing — just focus on right now. When I was growing up, I’d like to have thought that my family had some sort of idea or fantasy of what my life could have been like — and there were nights where I went to bed worried that I’d disappointed them somehow. Now I know this wasn’t true. Every day that your child is here is nothing short of miraculous. They’re perfect, despite all the challenges they’ve faced. Celebrate that! Dream big for them because you want them to have opportunities like every other kid. But focus small. Revel in a smile or word or productive therapy session. It makes us so happy to see you happy. You’re truly a team of amazing individuals.

Now, there’s something I want your child to know. If they’re ever told the phrase, “I just don’t think that it’s possible,” then I encourage you to smile,and maybe even laugh. Nobody knows what your child is or isn’t capable of. Even if the victory may seem small, a victory is still a victory. Never give up hope because at the end of the day, that is what carries us through. At the time of my diagnosis, the first thing the doctor had said was to expect nothing of any great consequence. So in spite of his words, my family and I expected something. At the time something was unclear, but something is completely different from nothing.

I’m happy to report, that since that day, I went on to be placed in mainstream school, graduate high school with full honors and will someday hope to have a successful and extraordinary life. It’s good to set important goals for your child and support them in achieving them because you never know what their exceptional lives hold. After all, they were raised by exceptional parents.

Never give up because there’s a whole world out there. And no footprint (or tire track) is ever too small.

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Originally published: March 1, 2015
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