Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hi my name is Joey and I'm 8 years old............

Hi my name is Joseph Andrew Stafford, I like to be called Joey. I am 8 years old and I am going into the 3rd grade. I love my family. I love going to school and hanging out with my friends. I really like watching my cartoons. Mickey Mouse is my favorite. I like playing baseball and I like to play rough. I like birthday parties and listening to other kids play. I especially love when others pay attention to me. I also like to go swimming (ironic).

Why is it ironic that I like swimming, well........................

When I was 1 1/2 years old I got into our backyard and drowned in the pool. I can't remember how I got in the pool. I could have slipped, or jumped or I could have been reaching for something, but really who can remember when they were 1 1/2 years old anyways. Well obviously I survived the drowning or I wouldn't have this blog for my mom to write in. I spent 5 weeks in the hospital (that's what mom tells me, I can't remember). From drowning I acquired an anoxic brain injury, brain damage due to lack of oxygen. I can't really remember much of anything when I was in the hospital or much of anything before the age of 4 yrs. So the rest is what my mom has told me. When I was in the hospital they didn't know if I was going to live or die. The doctors didn't know what I would regain or not. As I have gotten older I have gained a lot more of me back. The doctors diagnosed me with Cerebral Palsy.

Let me tell you what I can NOT do first. I can not roll over, get to a sitting position by myself or sit criss cross by myself for more then a few minutes. I can not stand without full support,  I can not walk without full support. and I have to wear diapers. I have a hard time using my arms for anything and I can not talk much. I can not feed myself or wash myself.

What CAN I do.....................I can sit for a few minutes unsupported, I can stand with help, I can walk with help and I can vocalize. I HAVE some words that come out right, but most of my words that you hear come out wrong. In my head I am saying a lot and I'm saying it right, but my muscles don't form the words right when they come out.  When you ask if I want something, I answer you. I can't help it you don't understand. I UNDERSTAND everything you say to me. I even try to do what you ask me, but you never give me enough time to respond.  I can eat really good and love all kinds of food.

Here are some things that aggravate me and especially aggravate my mom:

  • Look at ME and ask ME what I want, my mom will answer for me.
  • Say Hi and Bye to ME. Remember I can hear and UNDERSTAND you.
  • DON'T talk to me like I'm a baby(only Nana can).......I'm 8 yrs old, my birthday is June 28th, so next year Ill be 9 yrs old.
  • DON'T assume that I don't want to play. 
  • DON'T assume I don't want or like to go to the movies.........I love the movies.
  • DON'T assume I don't understand when I didn't get invited to your birthday party. It hurts my feelings.
  • DON'T skip over me in line. Just because I look disabled and can't communicate the same as you doesn't mean I don't UNDERSTAND.
  • DON'T stare and walk away. If you are curious come talk to me and ask questions, my mom loves to talk. Sometimes I have to fuss to shut her up.
There are a lot of things I wish I could do that you do, but I can't. I would love to go down a water slide or ride a regular bike or play hide and seek or drive race cars, but I can't so I make due with what I can do. My mom is great with modifying things for me, like my bike, but know one asks me to go out bike riding. There are a lot of things I can do, but is hard because my mom has to modify things and it's hard on her and usually takes twice as long, so be patient. I do have an ipad and a really cool wheelchair. These are my favorite things. I love to eat Mac and Cheese and Ice Cream. My sister and brother play with me a lot and this makes me happiest. I could sit all day on my dads lap and watch football. My mom always know what I want to eat and when I am hungry. My mom knows how much I am capable of doing so I can't fake it around her. However I can play my dad and grandparents good, a little fussing and I have them wrapped around my finger. 

So parents, your kids will treat me the same as you do. If you ignore me or push me aside or assume I can't do something or stare, then your kids will to. No one will ever learn. 

So I have one favor to ask you.........Please treat me like a typical 8 year old, I like it better.

Side Note - Read 'Out of my mind" by Sharon Draper about a girl with CP, true story.

Also watch this news report about a girl with severe Autism, 

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