We have a new Featured Parent to introduce you to!
Fun and Function: Who are you and your kids?
Brandi Fought: I'm Brandi Fought, and my kids are Joshua Mattew, 26 months, and Lillian Autumn, 21 months.
FF: What is the nature of their special needs?
BF: Matthew was born missing two parts of his brain. He is missing his Corpus Callosum and his Septum Pellucidum. He suffers from Schizencephaly, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, as well as Hypontonia. He is legally blind and has global developmental delays. Autumn was born addicted to cocaine. Her birth mother had no prenatal care, and Autumn was born anywhere between 28 and 32 weeks gestation. She suffered a stroke to her spinal cord while in utero. She is paraplegic and has leg contractures and clubbed feet. She also suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder and speech delay.
FF: Do you have a blog you can point us to?
BF: I write at Born from my Heart.
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs?
BF: I think the biggest challenge is finding a support system that understands this new world we live in. It is very true that having children with special needs is a friend changer. Being surrounded by people that are supportive, encouraging, and helpful is more of a blessing than many people understand. It is often taken for granted how a helping hand or a casserole can help parents of special needs children. As a parent to two special needs children, we get through the medical needs, the therapeutic needs, and the educational needs with a lot of patience and a good dose of humor. It's in the quiet time when you really just need to be reminded that everything is going to work out where we feel the most misunderstood.
FF: What would you say is your greatest joy in raising your children?
BF: Being in our new reality, we have developed new dreams for our children. Seeing my son hold a slinky for a few brief seconds is as important to me as many parents watching their child's first steps. We have learned to celebrate every day. We take no days for granted. Whether we are staying in our jammies and watching cartoons all day or going to the park for a picnic, we make memories with our children. We know how fleeting life can be when raising a child with special needs. We have so much joy celebrating each and every tiny accomplishment they achieve!
FF: What would you say has been the biggest help you in raising your kids?
BF: We are lucky to have a great support system. We have been amazed at the support we receive from family and friends. A pat on the back or a shoulder to cry on is truly a big help.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without.
BF: My waterway baby! If you have a child that has little or no head control, this is an amazing tool for the pool. This floatie allows my son to feel free in the water. He loves being in the water, and this has truly changed our lives!
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
BF: Don't give up. Grieve your loss. Grieve for the change in dreams. Take your time and get through those initial feelings. Then when the sun comes out again, take a deep breath and keep going. Celebrate every day. See your children for who they are and not what labels they have. A diagnosis is not a definition of who your child is. Maybe your dreams will change. Maybe you'll feel stressed. In that moment, hug your children a little tighter. We learned through a negative prognosis that each and every day with your children is a blessing. Love them more. Sing with them more. Play a little longer. And celebrate your child(ren) for who they are and the love they have brought to your life. In the end, it is up to you to show your children how to accept them for the wonderful creation they are!
Brandi, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and all the readers here at Fun and Function.
If you would like to be a featured parent or professional, just let us know!