Hello there! It is such a blessing to be able to share our son Jack with you. After not meeting age-appropriate milestones, Jack was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of 9 months old. At the time of his diagnosis, we were unsure and fearful of the future, but today we are hopeful and so thankful for everything God has taught us through Jack the last few years. It is not always easy and we still have heartache and struggles, but we have embraced who Jack is and know the Lord has great and purposeful plans for his life! Jack is now 3.5 years old and is absolutely thriving; he loves to play with his brother Will, read books, listen and dance to music, and ride horses. We hope that you are encouraged as you get to know Jack today!
Miggy: Can you take me back to the day you knew your son would have special needs? Do you remember how you felt? Can you compare those first thoughts and feelings with how you feel now?
Tiffany: The day we found out Jack has CP is a day that will forever be etched in my mind. I remember going into the doctor's office to hear the results from his MRI, knowing that something was going on, but holding onto the hope that it wasn't serious. When our doctor came in and said, "I think Jack has a condition called Cerebral Palsy," it was as if the world stopped. My immediate thought was wondering whether or not I could be the mom Jack would need and knowing that our lives just changed in an instant. Now, almost 3 years later, I can say that our lives have changed, but it has been for the better. Better because we see things from a different perspective now...our son's disability has allowed us to focus on the important things in this life and we are so thankful for that. The Lord has given us a gift and we consider ourselves blessed to be his parents!
Miggy: Explain how Jack’s specific special needs affects your day-to-day life?
Tiffany: Since Jack's diagnosis, he has been in physical, speech, occupational, cranial, constraint, music, and hippotherapy programs. It is very time consuming and financially straining at times. We have tried to put an emphasis on getting him the therapy he needs, while trying to balance our lives, and being sensitive to our oldest sons needs as well. We have also tried to continue to do the things we enjoy doing together, allowing Jack to take part in activities that typical children enjoy.
Miggy: What are the biggest worries you face for Jack?
Tiffany: My biggest concern for Jack has always been for him to be treated like a typical child- for others to know him for who is truly is, not just "the kid with CP." I also worry about him having good friends and feeling accepted by others.
Miggy: How can people best approach or respond Jack? Is there something you wish other people knew so as to avoid awkward or hurtful situations?
Tiffany: We love it when someone comes up to Jack, looks him in the eye and acknowledges him with a "hello" or "how are you doing?" He might not be able to respond appropriately, but he does know that he is being acknowledged and that means a lot. We also do not mind when others ask questions about him; we actually feel like this is a great thing...because when you are educated about something, it takes away the fear or awkwardness. But, sometimes the questions asked are hard to answer or hurtful because of how they are phrased. For example, "What is wrong with him?" Or, "Oh, that poor baby, how do you do it?" I think it's just important to be sensitive and think before you speak :)
Since he is almost 3.5 years old, it is sometimes hard when he is referred to as a baby. I think others see that he is not completely walking on his own, talking, or potty-trained and automatically think of him as a baby. It is not a big deal or extremely hurtful, so I just try and let others know that he is actually a pre-schooler who has cerebral pals, so they are aware of his special needs.
Miggy: Tell us about Jacks big brother Will. What their relationship is like and how does he handle (for lack if a better word) having a brother with special needs?
Tiffany: Will, Jack's older brother is his very best friend, wrestling partner, fan, and encourager. We are so grateful for their relationship and the incredible bond they have with one another...sometimes we even think they have their own special language :) Will has always been tender and had a sweet spirit, but we know that his compassion for others is greatly due to the fact that he has a brother with special needs. He is more aware of others now and wants to help those who might need a little encouragement. We have often prayed for Will to have so much confidence in knowing how much we care for him, too, and that he is just as special as Jack, because we never want him to feel less important. It has been extremely important for us to make time for Will by himself, so we will try and take him on "dates" occasionally and he really enjoys our time together...and, it makes him feel special. Will just amazes us and we thank God for giving him such a heart for his brother...it blesses us to know that Jack will always have an older brother looking out for him :)
Miggy: You and your husband have started a ministry and blog dedicated to education people about special needs, can you tells us more about this endeavor? What do you hope to do through this ministry and who do you hope to reach?
Tiffany: Andrew and I have wanted to do something to spread awareness, so we started Common Threads, a blog and apparel company dedicated to educating, unifying and fostering acceptance for those with special needs. Our hope is to reach those who might have special needs, parents of children with special needs, and those who want to join us in our mission. Our t-shirts are rooted in Scripture and have a modern, unique design that ANYONE can wear!
Our website is: Common Threads ...we would love for you to connect with our family!
Miggy: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since becoming a special needs mom?
Tiffany: I have learned so many lessons as a special needs mom, so this is a hard one. But, I think some of the most important lessons I have learned are to enjoy my children, right where they are and love them for who they are, nothing else. And, to trust that whatever we go through in life, there is a purpose...and when we can see that, we are deeply blessed. And, lastly, to NEVER put limitations on what our children will accomplish with God's help...we see new victories everyday!
A huge thank you to Tiffany for sharing her wonderful sons with us today. Didn't you just melt at that first picture of Jack? Adorbs 5000. (Just made that up...don't worry about it). Tiffany specifically asked if I could include a question about Jack's big brother Will and I'm so glad she did! While the main purpose of the spotlight is about spreading awareness of all these wonderful differences, I too know that siblings play such a huge role in the lives of our kids. I think most of us moms know how absolutely amazing these siblings are and wish that they sometimes got more credit. Thanks again Tiffany... you have a beautiful family! Also, check out this super cute video of Jack walking to his mama. So sweet.
As always if you or someone you know would like to participate in the special needs spotlight please email me--or have them email me directly--at thislittlemiggy at gmail dot com.
Hugs not drugs everyone!
Have a great weekend.