National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities

Strengths and Benefits of Parenting with a Disability (Plain-Language Version)

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A mother using a wheelchair with her teenage children in a pumpkin patch

The Disabled Parenting Project (DPP) has hosted two Mother’s Day Twitter Chats. In 2016, 152 people participated and there were 900 tweets. In 2017, 83 people participated and there were 377 tweets. Each Twitter Chat lasted an hour. People discussed the good things about parenting with a disability, both for the child and mother. Here are some of the important ideas from the discussion, along with things mothers had to say.

Strengths and Benefits for Mothers

Many of the mothers believe that having a disability has helped them be a parent.
  • “[Getting] cooperation from my kids is a huge focus. I can’t just wrestle them into doing what I want.”
  • “My strength comes from recognizing my own limits. I see so many able-bodied parents who ignore theirs.”
  • “Our family [works together more than some I see]. We all pitch in. Gender roles aren’t restrictive either.”

Strengths and Benefits for Children

Many of the mothers feel that having a disability has been good for their children.
  • “My kindergartener has learned so much about [caring about other people]. He has a deep understanding that everyone brings different strength.”

  • “It’s made my kids more adaptive and flexible. Skills gonna serve them well in life.”

  • “Also sharing a disability with my children, I’ve been able to expose them to positivity about their disability.”

  • “I think seeing moms ‘accommodate’ destigmatizes disability for kids.”(Destigmatizing means to make something not look bad.)

  • “Kids of #DisabledMoms appreciate diversity and welcome differences.”

  • “My kids know their mom is not [unbeatable] and we are a team. We have to work together to keep our home functioning.”

  • “Moms [with] disabilities are all different. But it can make [a] child more open & accepting of disability & diversity.” 

  • “I wasn't born disabled. I became blind after cancer. My daughters will know when life gets complicated you must persevere.”

  • “My son has the vocabulary to talk with confidence and respect about physical disabilities. That is a gift!”

  • “Hopefully the benefit of a more diverse worldview. They’re also learning to be self-sufficient.”

  • “Even at 10 [months] old my daughter has figured out that I do things differently than dad. She’s incredibly patient & adaptable.”

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