Active Parenting and Grandparenting With a Wheelchair

wheelchairParenting can be daunting, but it becomes more complicated for a wheelchair user. But it can be done with great success. No obstacle is insurmountable with innovative thinking. And there are many agencies in most communities to teach techniques for parenting to wheelchair users.

My children were seven and five years old when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I was determined to continue to be an engaged parent and stay active in the lives of my children. We sold our wheelchair inaccessible house and built a barrier free home close to schools, shopping and my church.

The first 15 years with my disability were what the medical profession calls exacerbating-remitting MS. This meant there were wild fluctuations in impairments that affected a variety of physical functions but my legs and right arm took the biggest brunt of attacks.

My family’s willingness to adapt (both physically and emotionally) required great flexibility and creativity. They met each challenge with resolve, tenacity and perseverance to help me live and thrive in my new disability realities.

Seeking new ways of adapting is crucial to active parenting and grandparenting with a disability. Be innovative in reducing or eliminating barriers. Be an active parent or grandparent despite disability.

I have continued to be actively engaged in the lives of my children and grandchildren from their births to the present. They are indispensable ingredients for my life with dignity. I have used every tool at my disposal to stay engaged in their lives.

Click here for a short YouTube video featuring a young mother, Jennifer Sexton (26) of South Carolina and her innovations to accommodate her needs.

Mark Davis Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. He and his wife, LaRee, have been married for 38 years. They live in Alberta Canada with their two adult children and five grandchildren. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org. For bookings, contact him by e-mail at MPickup@shaw.ca or telephone (780) 929-9230. Mark Pickup's bi-weekly column can be read in the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) at http://www.wcr.ab.ca/.