Handling Your Child’s Disabilities

Call them disabilities, differently-abled, or whatever you like; if you have a child that has a physical difference of some sort eventually you will have to deal with it.

My son Sean was born with Unilateral Microtia. That is a very large term which simply means he has only one working ear, the other is almost not there. I didn’t do anything to cause it, as far as I know it doesn’t run in the family, but there it is…and I see it every time I look at my son.

sean

It took me a long time to get over the feeling of guilt. Maybe I didn’t eat right. Maybe I didn’t eat enough organics. The conclusion that I finally came to was maybe I did everything right and it just happened.  Sean’s unilateral microtia means that he is deaf in one ear. His ear, what there is of it looks funny”. And as much as I want to beat up every kid that teases him I can’t.

We have been lucky. I homeschool him and the kids at our church are a pretty accepting lot. Once in awhile someone teases him about it but it is usually a new kid showing off, and it is rare. Sean handles it well. He just tells people that is the way God made him. Period.

There is surgery available to him but it is something I want him to decide for himself. It is a long and involved surgery, painful healing times, and I am not sure that a well adjusted 11 year old needs it. I feel it should be his choice when he is old enough to decide.  We have encouraged him to accept himself the way he is and accept that sometimes other people will disdain him because of his ear. He is o.k. with that.

He has learned to be open with others. If he is in a church situation like Sunday School he knows to tell the teacher if he is having trouble hearing.  For a short time he tried to get out of doing his chores with the “Sorry, mom, I didn’t hear you” card. I figured that out really quick and I make sure he is looking at me when I speak to him. He gets cut no slack for not hearing me.

Accepting a difference of any sort is just that. It is accepting that there is a difference and that you will have to work around that difference. Pretending it doesn’t exist or giving it too much attention are not healthy ways to deal with it. Do you have a child that has a physical difference? How do you handle it when it comes to other kids and social situations?

image: marye audet

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    • http://www.tell-her-this.blogspot.com kris

      I do have a disabled girl- adopted in September of last year at almost 4 years of age. She is only in school twice a week (since I went back to work) so maybe it’s her age? The kids seem to really embrace her and some even “look out” for her though she doesn’t need that at all. I worry about the times she’ll have to face ignorance and prejudice- not only because she is Chinese (I am astounded at the racism that still persists) but because she is in a wheelchair- and when she’s not, her means to “walk” is to crawl- or scoot- and quite fast at that!

      We don’t focus on her disability – but we don’t ignore it either. Trying to find that healthy balance, you know? And teaching her to embrace who she is, recognizing that everyone really IS different-

      She is such a gem of a kid. We’re incredibly lucky. She doesn’t let her uneven legs get in her way! (And has no issues with not being able to feel or move her right one… yet).