Top Ten Perks of Raising a Child with Disabilities
Raising kids with disabilities comes with its own set of challenges and reasons to be grateful. Because this is EA/TEF Awareness Month and our son was born with EA/TEF, my top ten perks of raising a child with disabilities will be slanted in that direction.
Years of experience have shown me that disability parents, whatever their child’s disability might be, have much in common. I hope these perks resonate with you, make you laugh, make you cry, and increase your gratitude.
#1: My Child Was Made by God in His Image
When I grieve the loss of my dreams for my child—a true grief to work through—the knowledge that he is exactly who God made him is a comfort for which I am always grateful.
#2: My Vocabulary Expanded
As an educator, I consider expanding my vocabulary to be a positive development. So many words entered my vocabulary after our son was born—barium swallow, GI specialist, stuckies, feeding tube, Nissen fundoplication, dilation, and more. How can I not be grateful for them?
#3: I Consider the Ability to Swallow Marvelous
Until our son was born, I thought swallowing of a normal bodily function. After he was born, I saw it as the marvel it is. And when his swallowing challenges diminished, my gratitude knew no bounds.
#4: I Appreciate Medical Advances
The EA/TEF surgery protocols have changed drastically since we became parents in 1982. From the introduction of anesthesia during newborn surgery to dainty button-feeding tubes and much more, I am grateful for today’s newborns being treated more humanely and effectively than ever before.
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Jolene Philo is the author of several books for the caregiving community. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and Amazon. See Jane Dance!, the third book in the West River cozy mystery series, which features characters affected by disability, was released in October of 2023.
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