God Isn’t Healing My Child With Cerebral Palsy
“Daniel Thomas suffered from Cerebral Palsy and seizures for most of his life, but he always believed God would heal him. Then one day God did.”
That’s the description for a popular video about a man born with cerebral cerebral palsy, created by the Christian Broadcasting Network. Daniel Thomas grew up with epilepsy, speech issues and fine-motor challenges. He met his wife, Cecile, at church and together, they prayed that God would heal the cerebral palsy and seizures. He says he began to “talk straight” and use his hands better. Today, the video says, “Daniel is able to do things he only dreamed of before.” There’s no mention of whether he still has seizures and epilepsy. Here, see for yourself:
The video shows a “before” shot of Thomas struggling to pick up a glass of water. The “after” shows him strumming on a guitar. I remain unclear on whether that “before” was a recreation; they randomly happened to have footage of him picking up a glass of water?! More importantly, why does the video not make any mention of the doctors and therapists who have surely helped this man?
Skeptical: Oh, yes, I am.
I am all for prayers for our children.
I am not believing that this man’s cerebral palsy was healed by faith.
Messages like this may give parents hope, and we so need hope. That said, cerebral palsy isn’t a condition that’s medically curable—something parents like me who have kids with CP are acutely aware of. Messages like this ignore (and even undermine) all the hard effort parents, therapists, doctors and teachers put into helping our children develop and work around their challenges.
My son, Max, had a stroke at birth. Doctors told us he might never walk or talk, that he could have hearing and vision problems, that he was at major risk for cognitive impairment. My husband and I prayed, but we also went all out helping him. “Get him as much therapy as possible,” the world-famous pediatric neurologist told us, and we did. We looked into enrolling Max in Early Intervention while he was still in the NICU. He started getting physical therapy at one month old. We tried alternative treatments, including hyperbaric oxygen treatment and craniosacral therapy. At six years old, Max got a stem cell infusion at Duke University.
Perhaps Max is doing as well as he is in part because of a Higher Authority. We are definitely blessed that he has a whole lot of determination. But I know that Max is thriving because of the countless hours I have spent doing therapy with him, training him, encouraging him and coming up with ways to enable him. He walks pretty well because he learned how using a gait trainer; now, every morning, I strap his feet into orthotics and every evening, I strap his feet into night braces. He is finally feeding himself because I’ve repeatedly coaxed him to grasp the spoon and guide it to his mouth. He is putting together words on his speech app to form sentences because we practice all the time. This is all also thanks to Team Max—the doctors, teachers and speech, occupational and physical therapists who help him and show me how to best help him.
It is no miracle that Max is walking, communicates, is learning to read and is gaining independence; it’s years and years of work and dedication.
Me, I have never looked to God to “cure” my son’s cerebral palsy. I trust in the powers I possess as his parent to enable him and do what’s best for him. I have faith in Max’s can-do spirit. I believe in God, yes, but I also believe in us.
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Tags: cerebral palsy, cerebral palsy and stroke, health | Categories: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max