I have cerebral palsy, and I am pregnant with my first child. I am elated, but I am also concerned. How will my child react when he or she realizes that not every Mom walks with crutches? Where can I find resources about what it is like to be a parent with a developmental disability?
Congratulations! You are about to embark on the joyful adventure of parenthood! As far as your question about how your child will react, well, it all depends on your attitude towards your disability. Often, children “live what they learn”. If you approach your disability as a natural occurrence, and are comfortable with who you are, then your child may ask questions about your well being (“Does it hurt?”), but once you have established that you are alright, then they will become comfortable with the fact that you have cerebral palsy.
There are many great resources on parenting with a disability. One of the first places to check out is your local Center for Independent Living. Missouri has 21 Centers for Independent Living located throughout the state. You can find a list of them at www.mosilc.org/CIL.htm. Each Center serves a designated geographical area. There, you will be able to connect with other parents who have disabilities. In addition, there are many great web sites on the Internet that have information about parenting issues for individuals with disabilities. A couple of these sites include: www.lookingglass.org and www.disabledparents.net.
Michelle Reynolds, Director of the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Last update: Wednesday, April 14, 2010