Real Moms Share: Julie Jones Rolling on with a Positive Attitude!
Julie Jones is a mother and blogger who contributed to this issue’s “Real Moms Share” section. We asked her to give us an insight into herself, as well as into her life raising her son, BJ. We asked her a series of questions; some serious and some “just for fun”. See what she said…
PARENTING SPECIAL NEEDS: Tell us a little bit about yourself and family.
JULIE JONES: Our family is what would have once been described as a “typical family”. There is a mom, dad and two children (a boy, BJ, 18, and a girl, AJ, 11). But, there is nothing typical about the way we function as a family because our son was born with Cerebral Palsy. We believe in approaching life with a positive attitude, but there is no denying that having a child with a disability affects most aspects of our life. Our family has been shaped by a determination to find solutions to problems as they arise, and a positive attitude. Travel and weekend outings are something that have also bonded us. Having fun times as a family has been the key to our strong relationships. Our son, BJ, has made huge improvements in the last six months. He is a happy, social and determined teen.
PSN: Tell us a little bit more about your child’s diagnosis and personality.
JJ: I had an uneventful pregnancy and birth with BJ. When I left the hospital, I was unaware there was anything “amiss”. It was only when he didn’t have good neck control at the same stage as other babies that I started to ask questions and seek advice. At 5 months of age we were sent to a physical therapist to “help him improve his muscle tone”. After a few visits she suggested that he may have Cerebral Palsy. BJ was a happy baby but his determined streak was evident early on.
PSN: Share with us something YOU, personally, had to overcome by being a mother to a child with special needs?
JJ: I like to find solutions to problems and Cerebral Palsy cannot be solved. Throwing us into every kind of therapy (speech, physical and occupation therapy) was my “solution” of sorts. It became abundantly clear after a few years of embracing all therapies that having a child with Cerebral Palsy was a marathon, not a sprint. I was going to burn myself out.
PSN: What have been some of your biggest obstacles/challenges raising your child?
JJ: Determination is a fine quality and that is the reason BJ has reached so many of his goals and continues to do so. However, his determination to work against me at times was a challenge. I learned early on that he had to see the purpose (or rather what was in it for him) in order to put the effort into working towards a specific goal. I have had to be inventive with my approach and work with this trait; always reminding myself that it will help him achieve more.
PSN: What is something your child does that you’ve come to appreciate as a gift?
JJ: BJ learned to hug a few years ago. It was a great thrill to see him use two hands and to squeeze with all his might. It is a real show of his love and affection. Each evening he won’t go to bed without giving everyone a hug including his Grandparents who are usually visiting to help.
PSN: What has school/education been like for your child?
JJ: BJ has been very happy throughout his schooling. It certainly met his expectation…but not always mine. He is very social and has been popular with staff and students. He welcomes everyone like they are a “rock star” and that is a lovely feeling for everyone.
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