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Life_with_Katie__My_child_with_Cerebral_Palsy

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					Life with Katie: My child with Cerebral Palsy

Word Count:
1173

Summary:
I am guessing if you are reading this article you either have child with
Cerebral Palsy or know someone who has this condition. If you do not know
what Cerebral Palsy is, I will tell you in layman’s terms. It means brain
damage. The damage can be either so minor that it is hardly noticeable or
it can be severe mental and physical damage. My daughter was born with
Cerebral Palsy because while in the womb, her intestine twisted causing
my wife and her to be under stress.


Keywords:
success, cerebral palsy, willingness, handicapped,never give up


Article Body:
I am guessing if you are reading this article you either have child with
Cerebral Palsy or know someone who has this condition. If you do not know
what Cerebral Palsy is, I will tell you in layman’s terms. It means brain
damage. The damage can be either so minor that it is hardly noticeable or
it can be severe mental and physical damage. My daughter was born with
Cerebral Palsy because while in the womb, her intestine twisted causing
my wife and her to be under stress. Katie had six strokes before she was
born. The damage caused her to be partially paralyzed on the left side of
her body.

Now this article is about how my wife and I dealt with raising her.
Recently, I joined a personal development website. As I have been
listening and watching some of the audios and videos, I have realized
that some of the virtues taught, we have been doing for years. We have
just not had any training. Probably like yourself, we had some of these
qualities, but did not know how to harness or exploit them.

The first feelings we had were uncertainty for the future. We were both
young. But really, no one is ever ready for anything like this. At first,
no one would tell us what was wrong or what to do. All we could think was
we had the worst situation ever. We did not know if it was a freak
accident or genetic. Would this affect any other children we had? But
after the shock wore off, we realized God had blessed us. Other babies in
the intensive nursery weighted around 2 lbs. Our Katie weighted over 6
lbs. She stayed in the hospital for 51 days. We were told at the
beginning that she would be in the intensive nursery for possibly 6
months.

From this uncertainty of the future, my wife and I learned our first
lesson when dealing with a handicapped child, which was to realize how
blessed we were. We had family members who had helped us get through the
initial shock. I had a good job with insurance that paid almost all of
the medical expenses. Our child was alive. You really do not understand
how strong you are until something like this happens. All you can really
do is try to take care of the moment. Abraham Lincoln once said “The best
thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

The next thing we learned was to make a commitment to our child. A quote
I enjoy by Marian Wright Edelman goes like this, “You are not obligated
to win. You are obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every
day.” It was almost a year before anyone would tell us she had Cerebral
Palsy. We knew something was wrong, but did not know what it was. She was
not doing the things that normal babies could do. After we were told she
had Cerebral Palsy, my wife and I had to make a commitment to Katie that
we would do whatever we needed to do to help her function in a “normal”
world. We could hide her from the world or treat her like our other
children. We chose to do the best we could to help her.

After you make the commitment, you have to be willing to follow through.
You are going to be the person taking them to the doctors. You are going
to be focusing a lot of time on helping this person. Katie could not walk
by herself until she was eight years old. But my wife and I decide we
would not put her in a wheelchair if she could at least walk with help.
They have a therapy called Conductive Education. We sent her to Canada
three times for five-week courses. We actually raised the money to send
her, and for us to stay with her, by holding garage sales. We would hold
one every weekend in different locations for two to three months. We
would tell people the garage sale money was being used to help Katie get
to the camp. Do you know that people would bring us stuff to sell or tell
us to come by and pick up stuff. You may not believe this, but I had a
sixteen-foot horse trailer loaded up when I got ready to have the sale.
By the end of the sale, we were restocked with new items. Also, sometimes
people would donate money. My wife, our family members and I were willing
raise the money to get her to the camp. Remember, “Where the willingness
is great the difficulties cannot be great.” says Niccolo Machiavelli

Now, the most important thing I have learned in my life with Katie is
never give up. Now I understand that not everyone has the same
circumstance, but set goals. Something always told me that she could
walk. Now I knew she would not walk perfect, but she would walk. And
through her efforts and the effort of my wife, others, and me, she can
walk. We also knew she needed an education like the other kids, so we
required her to do the same as other kids. It always took her longer to
do everything. But she has ended up graduating early and is now in
college working on a degree in accounting. We are still helping her
adjust. But our goal is for her to be as independent as she possibly can.
Do not hide the person. Try to include them in everything you do. We
always took our daughter out in public. When she was in school, we pushed
her to do her best. Ruth Gordon once said, “Never give up and never face
the facts.”

I believe that when facing the challenges of dealing with a Cerebral
Palsy person or any person with a handicap, there are three things to
remember that can help you through. First, realize when the uncertainty
of the future overwhelms you, that you have family and friend to support
and help you through these trying times. If you are the one helping the
handicap person, you will need to make a commitment and be willing to go
the distance. And last, but most important, never give up. There are
going to be times when you want to throw in the towel. Take a step back,
and grab a breath. Think about what Booker T. Washington once said,
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has
reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” I am a firm
believer that God does not give a person more than they can handle. If
you are a parent of a Cerebral Palsy child, God has given you a special
gift. He has entrusted you a special person. Do not be afraid to pray.
Sometimes that may be the only thing that will get you through the hard
times.

				
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