Parenting with a Disability

Last week my fellow author Neil Matheson (@NeilMatheson1) shared the following news story with me via Twitter, “Disabled Parents Fight to Keep Newborn at Home.” For those feeling too lazy to click the link, today ONLY I will enable your sluggish behavior and recap the article.

In Mississauga, Ontario (Canada) Peel Children’s Aid Society social  workers threatened to take four weeks old William away from his parents Maricyl and Charles who both live with cerebral palsy unless the couple hired an around the clock able-bodied caregiver. Now according to the CBC News story, Maricyl can handle all the baby raising necessities, such as changing diapers and breastfeeding. Advocate from Coalition for Persons with Disabilities Ryan Machete provided his insight to the news outlet saying,

“From what I’ve seen when I’ve been at the apartment … there’s really nothing that she (Maricyl)’s unable to do,”   

Peel Children’s Aid Society and William’s parents met to discuss the Society’s concerns Friday, May 4 and obviously social workers ended up agreeing with Machete as CTV News notes the social workers dropped demands for a 24/7 able-bodied caregiver. While William’s individual case remains solved, I still feel the topic worth mentioning. After all how much discussion do you really encounter about parenting with a disability?

Personally, outside Neil Matheson’s book  Daddy Bent-Legs I don’t recall reading anything on the subject. Secretly I consider how my mild cerebral palsy might affect my ability to parent one day. Since I don’t drive I’m not going to take my future kids to school or baseball practice. My poor hand-eye coordination will make playing catch with my currently non-existent kids difficult. On the other hand freelance writing offers the perfect opportunity to become a work-from-home father. Plus I’ll supply excellent help on English homework.

Daddy Bent-Legs by Neil Matheson

Neil Matheson discusses parenting with a disability in his book Daddy Bent-Legs.

Basically every parenting situation, not just those involving individuals with disabilities, features positives and negatives. I believe analysis and determining parental roles proves vital to capitalizing on the positives and negating the negatives.  We as a society shouldn’t deem someone unfit for parenting based off a generic label like “disability.” Ultimately the real issue emerges as (Insert Name) parenting and NOT parenting with a disability.


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