A Wonderfully Affirmative Look at Families and Disabilities

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. My family is on vacation. While we are gone I’ll be running articles from the past 12 months that you’ve indicated you particularly enjoyed. Dave

While I was looking online for the exact words that President Obama spoke today about “litmus tests” and prospective Supreme Court nominees (see Today’s News & Views), out of the corner of my eye I spied a link to a story at CNN.

When I read the story, I experienced one of those genuine “a-ha!” moments.

I’m always skimming, so a brief glance led me to initially misread what the headline– “For disabled parents, challenges are a bonding point”–was saying. My first thought was that it was a story about how the challenges of having children with disabilities can bind a mom and dad more tightly to their kids.

But Elizabeth Landau’s fine piece was exploring disabilities from an angle I simply haven’t considered: the challenges and joys of raising children when the parents have significant physical disabilities. The thesis is that there is a unique bond between parents with disabilities and their children who don’t.

Naturally, I couldn’t help thinking how these parents, were they conceived today at a time of elaborate prenatal diagnoses, might not have survived to be parents. Sarah Kovac, the first parent profiled, has a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita.

This, Landau explains, is “a rare disorder that involves multiple joint deformities from birth. From the tops of her shoulders to her fingertips, most of her joints don’t move.”

But her determination to be a great mother is unbounded. And the pride in their parents exhibited by the many children interviewed is enough to make your day, if not your week.

If you get a chance, please read the story.

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