Independence Day

I have talked about the impact of social media support groups for parents of children with special needs, but there was a beautiful example that I saw yesterday. I belong to a group for parents of children with hemiplegia – a one sided weakness caused by damage to the brain. A mother proudly posted a video of her ten year old son, putting on his own socks using just one hand. It was moving to watch the determination on his face and the effort and time that went into an activity that most of us take for granted. I cheered inwardly when he achieved his goal and then he set about putting the other sock on too.

There then followed a stream of messages from viewers, mostly parents who had already shown , or were going to show, the video to their hemi children. They were using the video as a tool to encourage their own young children. There were a few of us who posted supportive messages, congratulating the young boy, including one from an adult with hemiplegia, who wished he had seen the technique when he was young a it was a skill that he had never mastered, which made me sad. Joshua is in danger of being in that same position as an adult.

Of course, it set me to thinking about my own parenting : I have never asked Joshua to attempt to put on his own socks. Evidently, I am guilty of doing too much for him and not allowing him to develop his own independence skills. It may well be for my own speed and convenience that I tend to feed him,dress him and even remove his coat and hang it up for him when he comes indoors, as my own inpatience probably gets in the way of his independence. So, I have not done him any favours as he is approaching his 15th birthday and I need to try to break the habit of his lifetime, and expect him to do more for himself.

Funny but, people often joke that he is a ‘typical boy’ and that means that he will not help himself, if someone else is prepared to do something for him. Actually I do not know if it really is a gender issue, or if it is simply all that he has ever known, and I am to blame for that.But it is something that I am going to try to address, which my pampered son may well object to! I will report back at a later date on our progress, as both if us require some re-training.

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