Francie Khalaf by Francie Khalaf Additional Needs

Francie Khalaf

Francie Khalaf

I am a wife and mother of two children with cerebral palsy. I believe in making lemonade out of lemons

There’s an “average” four-year-old boy in there.

Today in the car Sawyer “sang” along to all the frozen songs. He had the inflection and timing and tone just right. He sang right along with me, but they weren’t words.

Sawyer’s cerebral palsy seems to have affected his verbal language, but it hasn’t stopped him from acting like the typical four-year-old boy. He is VERY good at nonverbal communication. He answers questions with a smile or a frown and gets so excited to hear and see certain people.

He loves farts and potty language. He loves when we burp or accuse him of farting. He is a typical boy inside; he just looks different on the outside. He has a feeding tube, does not walk and is nonverbal.

For us, we know who he is and what makes him laugh but for others, especially kids, they struggle to look deeper. We usually get a lot of questions about Sawyer. What is the feeding tube for? Why can’t he walk?

We always do our best to not be offended and answer the questions because often they are coming from children.

There are more times than I can count that when I say Sawyer has Cerebral Palsy people respond with “I’m sorry.” It’s a natural thing to say when you don’t know what to say but it is also strange.

For one, it is not the situation we envisioned but it is not something to be sorry for. We feel as though we were chosen for this particular situation. Secondly, we get to see tiny miracles on a regular basis, so we feel so incredibly blessed.

Sawyer does not walk or communicate like a typical four-year-old but on the inside, he is ALL four-year-old boy.

Children like Sawyer force us to look deeper. It’s easy to make a snap judgment but it’s harder to step back and look on the inside. So next time you see a child in a wheelchair, someone with a disability or someone who may be different, model acceptance and understanding. Give them a smile, say hello and let that person know you care.


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