Last week Tonia Christle, from Tonia Says, wrote a series of five posts about growing up with a disability. So this week we got connected on Skype for an interview.

Three highlights from our conversation:

  • For people with disabilities, being disabled is their normal. Tonia shares, “Right, because being able-bodied is just as much their norm as being disabled is my norm. I’ve grown up my whole life like this.” While as parents we have to adjust to a new reality when our children are diagnosed, for people born with disabilities, it has always been their reality. I think about my girls, my youngest has Down syndrome, she only knows life with Down syndrome. My middle daughter has cerebral palsy, she only knows life with cerebral palsy. It’s their normal.
  • Independence. I believe this is something that many of us parents worry and wonder about as our children grow up, what level of independence will our kids achieve? Tonia shares great insights and reminds us that whatever level of independence our kids can achieve, to celebrate that, and that nobody gets by without help.
  • Friendships. We received several questions about friendships and Tonia shared honestly and openly about the struggles in forming friendships when you have a disability. A great topic in our conversation.

But of course there is a lot more we covered in our interview, like abelism, encouraging kids in the things they do well, finding a place to belong etc.

And one more thing, because I know some of you prefer to listen to an audio version, I’ve included an audio option so you can listen while you drive, or make dinner, or get chores done around the house.

Plus, Tonia was thoughtful and said, “Hey, what about a transcript for someone who is deaf or prefers the written version?” So she got the transcript ready for you!

And friends, this is my first video interview as host! I loved it, and I’m thinking about making this a standard part of my blog, maybe starting a podcast for parents of kids with disabilities who need some hope and encouragement, what do you think?

(And if you receive my posts via email and the video is not showing, you can find the video HERE or you can stop by the blog and check it out)

If you would rather listen to the interview, here is the audio:


And if you would rather just read the interview, here is the link to the PDF:

Growing Up With a Disability With Tonia Christle and Ellen Stumbo  (click to open)

Last, if you did not get a chance to read Tonia’s posts, here they are:

Growing Up With a Disability: The Early Years

Growing Up With a Disability: The Elementary Years

Growing Up With a Disability: The Middle School Years

Growing Up With a Disability: The High School Years

Growing Up With a Disability” The College and Adult Years

Did you learn something from this series? Share with us! And don’t forget to connect on Facebook.

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