Parents, carers and disabled parents
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Explaining her disability to my 5yr old daughter and her unaffected siblings.

TraceyDTraceyD Member Posts: 3
I have twin girls who will be 5 next week. Nancy was diagnosed with CP hemiplegia at 18 months after being born 9 weeks prem. Her twin Lola is unaffected.
Nancy is doing really well and now walks unaided, which is ace. However, now is the time to explain it to Nancy and Lola and their older brother in a positive but honest way. Any advice would be very much welcome.


  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Hi Tracey, I've asked your question to our followers on Twitter. They come back with some great responses, which I'll share with you here.
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    olana t hancock ( said:

    going to ask my mom how she explained to my sister about her cp, will pass on her advice. My sister now assists in a nursery is good at explaining why she's 'different' to the little ones. Think it helps young kids to be introduced to disability early on.
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Martyn Sibley ( said:

    With my niece I was just open and honest about what I couldn't do but just as important what I can do. She's oblivious to it now :-) To a 5 year old the way we explain is key. If kids get it, oppression will die out in time.
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Helen Copeland ( said:

    I explained to my god-daughters that some parts of me don't work as well as other peoples... and when I've had surgery I've explained. After that I've answered any questions they've had, although when they saw my grabbing stick they thought I was a litter picker lol. [They were] very curious but also protective.. If I had surgery they wanted to help with things like rubbing cream in legs or physio. Couple of times eldest would be cheeky and pinch my crutches because she knew I couldn't chase her but it was never a problem
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Rebecca Nokes ( said:

    Be kind, loving, inclusive, sensitive...use positive language to reflect the value of disability and both kids.
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Joanna Sholem ( said:

    Of course I will try to help. Will ask my younger brother how our parents explained it to us. I'm in my mid-30s and have hemiplegia; my brother is 4 yrs younger. Children the age of yours often ask abt my arm or leg spontaneously. I keep it matter of fact and simple- my right side doesn't work very well. Sometimes that's enough- kids just accept difference - 'oh, okay' occasionally they ask if it hurts - to which I can honestly reply no, and I'll explain that have poorer balance and co-ordination and find fine motor tasks more difficult, but that my right hand is a good 'helper'. I tell that them I can do anything I want to -it might take a little bit longer and some determination ; otherwise known as being stubborn! Be honest and say sometimes one gets angry or sad- and that that's okay. The thing for the siblings to know is that they are really important, too. I think I demanded a great deal of attention as a child and I'm glad that our parents focused on lots of activities we did together. Will write more after I talk to Michael.
  • AlexAlex Scope Posts: 1,324 Pioneering
    Olana T Hancock ( said: My mom's advice on talking to the 5yr old about CP:'Just explain that she needs to be honest but simplistic. To tell her in a story kind of way, a way a five year old will understand. For the older brother she can add a bit more detail but only enough that he will understand'
  • TraceyDTraceyD Member Posts: 3
    Hi everyone,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question about how I explain Nancy's disability to her and her siblings There is some really great advice here and I really appreciate it.
    I will let you know how I get on.
    Thanks again,
  • JDWilsonJDWilson Member Posts: 90
    Hi Tracey I have recently bought 2 books from Amazon about a girl in a wheelchair It doesn't explaine disability but they are lovely Inclusive books and my child who is 11 and disabled Loves them. They are called Wendy on wheels goes to the Zoo and Wendy on wheels goes to the beach. These are really possitive childrens books and my daughter has took them into school for her class mates to see. OUR disabled children are Normal and enjoy doing the normal things the other kids do. p.s WHO is the EXPERT on who is NORMAL and who isn't.
  • TraceyDTraceyD Member Posts: 3
    Hi Acrossfromthepark,
    Thanks so much for this, it's really helpful. I will go on to Amazon straightaway!
    And you're right, no-one has the right to say who's normal and who's not.
    All the best and thanks again,
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