“Ok, well first of all…I know nothing. But if your kids are anything like me, they’re going to break a lot of toilets!”
Those are the starting words writer and comedian Zach Anner gives as his disclaimer, with a chuckle, when asked for tips and advice for parents with children with disabilities.
Zach is living with cerebral palsy – a neurological movement disorder characterized by lack of muscle control and impairment in the coordination of movements. This is caused by damage that occurs to the developing brain, most often before birth or in the first two years of life. To learn more about cerebral palsy, click here.
But if you Google Zach – that’s not even the thing he’s most known for! He’s a writer, author, and comedian – and currently writes for the ABC sitcom Speechless, which explores both the serious and humorous challenges a family faces with a special needs teenager.
So he knows what he’s talking about – and he is funny!
Tip #1: Be OK with watching your kid struggle.
“If [my mom] hadn’t been able to step away, I wouldn’t be like a cool kid in Los Angeles with a bachelor pad and a candy drawer….”
Tip #2: Raise your kids to be thoughtful adults who aren’t always the center of attention.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but I park [my wheelchair] in the middle of doorways and hallways all the time so that no one else can get through – and I don’t even realize that I’m doing it!”
Tip# 3: Be Careful about accidentally patronizing your kid.
“Let your kid’s passions lead, rather than the disability.”
Tip #4: Treat your disabled teenager like a teenager.
“If you wouldn’t barge into your abled-bodied 15-year-old’s bedroom then don’t barge into child with disability’s room.”