I Wish I had Known…

Parents Speak:  Things I Wish I had Known

The other day I had a simple, yet profound experience with my 18 year old son who has hemiplegia. He was in the kitchen making salsa. I was hovering over him as he was cutting up vegetables with sharp knives and turning the big knob on our manual food processor. I could see he was struggling a bit with some of these tasks, so I was trying to help him with things that were difficult for him. Then he suddenly turned to me and said, “Mom, if you’ll just leave me alone for a few minutes I will figure it out and find a way to make it work.” So I left and when I came back a 1/2 hour later, he had made beautiful and delicious fresh salsa and cleaned up the kitchen.I was impressed, but I wasn’t surprised because this is how he has taken on life since he was a little boy. He has always found ways to do EVERYTHING in ways that works for HIM. From playing sports, swimming, golfing, driving, typing, to teasing his siblings, he has found ways to make it work. I have always been proud of him for never expecting the world to adapt to him, instead he adapts and finds ways to “figure it out”. And he always does. As a result, he is a very confident, happy and capable young man and I am confident that he is ready to transition into life as a very successful adult! So my advice to parents of young children with mild hemiplegia is to give your kids opportunities to figure out on their own how to do the “hard” stuff.It’s difficult to not step in and help when things get hard for them. But I have learned from experience that they can do so much more than we might expect to be possible. I’m sure your children, like my son, have been blessed with great determination. And I think that’s what makes the impossible become very possible. – Nancy

It’s really okay to get a disability parking permit. Your child will qualify for the permit and usually the doctor just signs a form from your local or state’s department of motor vehicles. Don’t feel guilty about getting the permit. If you need to use it to make life easier for your child, then use it. You don’t have to use it all the time – just when it’s needed. – Joni