What my disabled son has taught me

Amanda O'Neill by Amanda O'Neill Additional Needs

Amanda O'Neill

Amanda O'Neill

I’m Amanda, I’m 25 and mummy to my little angel Ryan who has quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy. I never knew in life what i wanted to be when I...

Throughout my life, I feel like I never had a purpose. I got by day by day not really knowing what my life would come to, working a miserable job, just getting by not knowing what I would make of myself.

That all changed the day I became a special needs mum.

I genuinely believe the saying that these amazing children are born into the lives of special people.

People who have been put on this earth to protect and care them. I never knew how much I wanted Ryan until he was brought into my life and from there on together we have started an incredible unexplainable journey.

How can one little boy teach you so much?

I could write an endless list of things that Ryan has taught me throughout his short 4 years on this earth but considering my blog post would be never-ending if I did that I thought I would list a short few.

Our children are superheroes.

My son goes through so much on a daily basis and wakes up every morning with a smile on his little face.

He can make his needs known without even having to say a word. He has to endure hours of hard therapy. He might get upset but we as parents know it's for his own good.

Ryan can make even the darkest day seem brighter with this sheer excitement over the simplest things.

He is grateful for somebody to just acknowledge him.

Some days it's good to cry.

Parenting a child who has so many complex needs is an emotional rollercoaster.

Some days I blame myself, some days I blame others. I question why and what-ifs.

I can feel alone. I compare my child to others. I fear for the future.

I have found through my years of experience that sometimes, on the worst days or even the best days its okay to sit in a dark room on my own and cry and when I'm done pick myself back up again wipe away my tears and get on with our day.

Be grateful for your own health.

It’s not until you watch somebody else struggling to do something we find on a daily basis so simple that I realise the impact it can have on a person who isn’t so lucky to be blessed with good health. It’s not until you become responsible every day for somebody else, to do the things for that person that's they cannot do for themselves.

From moving them physically around to changing and getting them dressed. Even down to helping them playing with a toy.

That makes me realise just how grateful I am for my own health.

We don't take things for granted.

I am proud of my child, we celebrate the little things, the things most parents would not think twice about.

That picture Ryan drew at nursery means so much more to me than any other parent could ever imagine.

The 5-minute chat after we pick Ryan up about how his day was and what he did today at nursery makes me feel content.

The interaction with other children towards him makes me grateful he is accepted.

Every birthday is an achievement we celebrate another precious year of just having him here.

We are not ashamed of him, we don't want sympathy we just want support and to spread awareness.

Parenting my son with special needs is the most rewarding thing I have ever got the pleasure of experiencing.

The things I have learned and the struggles along the way is something that could never be taught unless you sent a day walking in our shoes.

It's a love on a different level that I never knew we humanly possible it's a life lesson that will be cherished forever.


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