My Mother’s Perspective on Raising a Son with a Disability

To celebrate my mother’s 60th birthday last Friday (March 20), we had a fun-filled weekend with family and food. Her mom, sister and brother-in-law came to visit. We took her to Hominy Grill, which is one of her favorite restaurants.

My mother is one of my biggest supporters. She has helped me overcome the challenges of living with a spinal cord injury. Read the interview below where she shares her perspective as a mother of a child with a physical disability.

Alex and Mom

Alex and his mom, Dr. Sherron Jackson

1. What were your first thoughts when you realized your son was paralyzed after the car accident?

I suffered a severe head injury and was in a coma for several weeks before I realized Alex had been injured. Once I woke up and saw him in intensive care and he smiled when he recognized me, I was overjoyed. As a pediatrician I had taken care of children with multiple injuries or disabilities, so I was just grateful and I thanked God that he was alive.

2. Who was part of your support system when learning about programs and services for people with disabilities?

All the doctors, nurses, and specialists, the rehab team, physical and occupational therapists helped Alex heal during his 6 month hospitalization after the accident. His early education was at the Charles Webb Center followed by special education services through Charleston County public schools. As a high school student SC Vocational Rehab services were available. Community resources included the department of disabilities and special needs, HASCI, the SC Spinal Cord Injury Association support group, newsletters, disability Resource Center, and programs for adults with disabilities. Of course, every support system includes family, friends, and our church family.

3. Has having a child with a physical disability changed your role as a physician?

Absolutely! I thought I was an empathetic pediatrician before the accident, but after taking care of my own child’s special needs, I became more observant and more vocal about the needs of my patients. Most families don’t know how to maneuver in the medical system and I was able help them identify resources.

4. Has anything surprised you, good or bad, about having a child with a spinal cord injury?

I wondered if Alex would become angry about his injury after he was old enough to understand what happened. Even as a young boy, he accepted the fact that some children were different. He told me, “God made some walking children and some wheelchair children”. He has taken on all challenges with a motivated spirit.

5. Why is independence important for your son?

Independence is important for survival in today’s world. Disabled persons should grow up confident in their abilities. Learning to drive an adapted vehicle has allowed Alex the freedom to have a job, further his education, and participate in community activities.

6. What advice would you give to other parents with a child with a physical disability?

I recommend parents teach their children to set goals and dreams and to give them the opportunity and resources to achieve their goals. We all have to survive in this world and some of us have different obstacles to overcome. For my patients with sickle cell disease, it is figuring out how to be successful students and adults despite having to live with a blood disorder.

7. Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m proud to be Alex’s mother because of his personality and attitude. He doesn’t worry and complain, which makes it easy to take care of him. Alex enjoys being an advocate for disabled persons and he has worked hard to improve access to services in the Charleston community.

About Tuesday Talk With Alex

Born in Charleston, SC, I was injured in a motor vehicle accident when I was nine months old. I acquired a C5-C6 spinal cord injury. I'm now 30 years old and I do not let my disability deter me from acheiving my goals and enjoying life. I will be sharing my experience of living with a spinal cord injury.
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16 Responses to My Mother’s Perspective on Raising a Son with a Disability

  1. bowenm2013 says:

    Wow. I am so impressed. Your mother is an amazing and wonderful person. – Just like you Alex. Thank you for sharing these very touching remarks. Marnette

    Like

  2. Brian Gunter says:

    I feel fortunate to have worked with both of you when you come into our dealership at Mobility Super Center. You are an inspiration to all.

    Like

  3. Chris Earl says:

    I am always so inspired by you and your mom. Your faith shines through in everything you do and draws people in. Beautiful family!!!

    Like

  4. Sandee Sutphin, RN says:

    Just beginning my career, as a young RN working with Dr. Jackson, I admired her faith, attitude and respect for all. At the end of my career, it was my privilege to meet Alex and know that the apple did not fall far from the tree, despite many hardships, time constraints and sacrifice, by both. Job well done. Also, a shout out to the programs available in our city/state that enabled Alex to become the powerhouse he is… Certainly, the role the support of family, faith and friends goes without saying!

    Like

  5. Diane Epperly says:

    Great column. I LOVE this quote:

    He told me, “God made some walking children and some wheelchair children.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maria says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I had no idea your mom had suffered such severe injuries in the accident as well. What a blessing to witness how you both pressed on. Her support is so great & means so much especially in encouraging you to have your own goals & dreams. Some parents have no faith in their children. I appreciate my parents so much as well for believing in me. I am so thankful to know you & your mom & pray continued blessings upon you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jenise says:

    I enjoy reading true stories and watching you care for my children for 20 years. I have always admired your strength and dedication as a parent and a doctor. Happy birthday Dr Jackson and Alex has grown to be a remarkable young man.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brittley Lewis says:

    Great read, you and your mother are awesome. I went to school with you back at Oakland Elementary glad to see all is well!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ingrid Condon says:

    Having 2 daughters that have survived TBI/Traumatic Brain Injuries, one must say that God is great! He never gives us more than we can handle. God has blessed you both and I’m thankful that you have been able to touch so many lives You are an inspiration.

    Like

  10. Valerie gross says:

    No 2 people on earth admire and love sherron & alex any more than my husband and myself. They are the living example of love and grace, two amazing people we should all use as examples.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lonnie Cowart says:

    I am fortunate to be around Alex on a regular basis as part of the same public affairs team. He inspires me every day. God didn’t make a warmer smile than he exhibits 100% of the time. He is role model for positive attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Katrinda McQueen says:

    Two of the most awesome people I know! Dr. Jackson sets the standard in so many roles: Mother, Physician, Sister and Friend. Alex follows in her footsteps setting the standard as a young man. nephew and advocate for himself and so many others.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Keisha Williams says:

    Alex is absolutely remarkable. He is such a role model and has a beautiful spirit. I have a visually impaired sister who has a hearing impaired son and Alex has always pointed me towards resources and been there to encourage me as I help my sister with the many challenges that she faces. God is good. Alex be encouraged and continue to be the light that God created you to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Raising a Son with a Disability - AbleThrive

  15. Pingback: Top 10 blog posts of 2015 | Tuesday Talk With Alex

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