Every parent has the right to feel supported to enable them to be the best parent they can be.
As the child of a disabled parent, I knew from an early age that it wasn't what you are unable to do that makes you a parent - it's what you can do! Just because there are ways which society expect things to be done doesn't make them the only way of doing them and doesn't make them the right way for all. All my childhood I was taught to think outside the box and find other ways of doing things with my father - what a role model!
When I experienced physical difficulties as a parent, these principles pounded in my head. I lived by the motto "Anything you can do I can do different" I asked health professionals for advice and they had no knowledge or experience of doing things. All they could do was to suggest I ask someone else to do it for me - NO WAY. My baby - I do it. I became a trustee for the charity Disabled Parents Network (DPN) in 1999 (until 2003), where I had the privilege to meet and work with so many fantastic disabled parents who like me learned to think outside the box, I used to volunteer in the office that was shared with Disability, Pregnancy, Parenthood International (DPPI), so while doing admin I was absorbing tonnes of useful information from the information line that DPPI ran from there..
In 2005 DPPI were looking for a tempory Information Officer to work on the helpline for disabled parents and thought of me. I loved the work, I built up a huge knowledge base of different parenting techniques, useful organisations and equipment. Everything seemed so expensive for disabled parents, either that or the equipment looked like it came out of a hospital. Who needs that?
I was often ask to demonstrate or work with parents who came to visit the Centre to assist them in finding their own way of parenting. I enjoyed this part of the job enormously and went on to set up my own business, training midwives, and other health care professionals in aspects of disabled parenting. More importantly I traveled all over the country giving parents the opportunity to try out techniques and strategies in their own home with their own equipment.
If you would like to have a chat about any aspect of disabled parenting please contact me. I still travel all over the UK working with disabled parents whenever my other commitments allow.
Articles I have written that you may find interesting:
One-Handed Parenting Resource - this article was not written by me but I was part of the DPPI team that created the book.
In 2011 I become a trustee for DPPI
COMING SOON -
Facilitating Parents with a Disability into your parent and child classes.
A 2 hour session for parent and toddler group workers and baby/toddler class teachers.