Hello my name is Tory, I am a parent with a 3 boys and I have Cerebral Palsy, my husband also has Cerebral Palsy. I work at our local independent living center as a peer advocate counselor and my husband works in the office for students with disabilities at a community college.
Parenting with a disability can be challenging but also very rewarding!
Our Children are 20,16, and 10. Our oldest is in college, our 16-year-old is in 10th grade, and our 10 year old is in 5th grade.
I use crutches when I walk and as our kids got older (and their schools got larger) I began using a scooter. My husband walks with a cane and uses a manual wheelchair.
When the kids were babies we used bassinets on wheels and their strollers to get them from place to place. As they began to walk and grow into toddlers we used a harness so they would not get away from us in public places. People used to stare and make negative comments to us about the harness. our reply would be “using the harness is better than having our kids run into traffic and getting hurt.” People wouldn’t know what to say after that.
If I were going to give a fellow parent with a disability some advice about parenting, I would have to say a sense of humor helps and lots and lots of love. There will be times when your kids wish you didn’t have a disability and they will think they hate you and it will probably have nothing at all to do with the fact that you have a disability. I have talked to parents who don’t have disabilities and their kids go through periods where they don’t like their parents.
I feel our kids are more sensitive towards people’s differences and are much more accepting of people. Our kids tend to want to help their teachers and friends and I believe it is directly related to being raised by parents with disabilities.
People have asked my husband and I if we could be able bodied would we want to be. I would not want to be able bodied because my disability is part of me and I would not change a thing. We are living a wonderful life and we and our kids are happy and succeeding and that is what matters most!