The JJs List Blog

Learning From Children With Disabilities

Posted by on September 30, 2014 - 2 Comments
Cecilia Cartner—Getty Images

Cecilia Cartner—Getty Images

You should not feel bad for yourself, or pity your kids if they are born with a disability. You might just be surprised at what you can learn about true strength.

The article, “The Pain of Passing My Disability On to My Child”, written by Ellen Painter Dollar, is about how Ellen’s daughter inherited osteogenesis imperfecta, the same bone disorder she has. This genetic disorder causes brittle bones that can break easily in a slip or fall that wouldn’t cause such in people who do not have this disorder.

Mrs. Dollar writes about how she and her daughter have had to deal with their disorder. At times, she expresses regret and shame at their mutual disability. She also details stories about how her daughter has suffered as a result of this disease, how many bones she’s broken and how it’s broken her spirit. Reading the article, you can tell that Mrs. Dollar is frustrated, but does not regret her place in life.

The article is a tale of her family’s struggle with a disease that, if even the tiniest injuries happen, can cost more than a day at the hospital, but derail plans, hopes and dreams. Mrs. Dollar never once wishes that her daughter was never born. That being said, she doesn’t like how she inherited said disability. But sometimes things happen that we can’t control and the best course of action is to face it head-on.

The question asked in the article is, “Can you regret having a child who inherits your genetic baggage?”, which is also the title on Patheos, where the article was first published. The answer is no. While she does sometimes hate it (as mentioned earlier), she feels grateful that she’s able to learn from her daughter’s weakness and realize what true strength is.

Mrs. Dollar’s article is meant to be an inspiring story. It’s understandable to have mixed feelings about having a kid with a disability, especially if they inherited the same one you did. But instead of saying “everything happens for a reason”, Mrs. Dollar’s story tells us how to learn from how our loved ones face adversity and become stronger as a result.

Don’t get angry or despair if your child has a disability. Instead, see what you can learn from them.

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About The Author

This article was written by our Intern Paul.


Ellen Painter Dollar says:
Oct 01, 2014

Thanks for sharing my post. Based on what you’ve written here, you seem to have really understood what I was saying. That’s always nice for a writer to see! Many thanks.

Ellen Painter Dollar says:
Oct 01, 2014

And I’ve written a more detailed version of our story, along with much more material on the choices that people with genetic disorders have today to use various technologies to avoid passing the disorder on, in my book “No Easy Choice.”

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