jack climbing“I was recently asked by another mum “What is your opinion on ‘helping’ when they are struggling to do things? I’m unsure how much to assist. Sometimes I feel the need to take a step back and let them make mistakes”

This photo of Jack aged 18 months (now 10 yrs old) is a classic example of this situation, I still remember my pulse racing as I watched Jack (born missing his left hand) attempt to climb up this ladder to his Daddy on the roof. I can still recall covering my mouth so as not to scream and frighten Jack. My husband Rob was on the roof, and calmly said to me “he’s alright, he will work it out, he will know when he doesn’t feel safe. Trust him” I held my breath until I was almost blue. heart. racing… but Rob was right. At rung number four Jack decided he was high enough and headed back down. I regained my composure enough to grab the camera for a quick photo. Jack was so proud of himself!

It’s so hard to watch them struggle, to learn different ways, to be patient, to gently coax ‘just keep trying, I know you can do it’. But every time I step back, sit on my hands and bite my tongue it helps grow his confidence, his resilience, his patience and his problem solving skills. The pride and confidence each time he accomplishes a new task and meets a new challenge is so worth it! At age ten he is a very capable and confident young man – who thinks he can do it better then his mum!”

When you have a child born with limb difference like Poland Syndrome it can be tricky sometimes to know what to do for the best. Limb differences can occur for a number of reasons at birth. In the case of Poland Syndrome you may see webbed fingers, missing digits or fingers joined together. The hand with Poland Syndrome will frequently be smaller than the other hand. On the same side of the body (where the hand is different) there may also be missing or under developed chest muscles so it’s important to seek a medical diagnosis and get this checked out.