Meet Macie! She loves swinging on adaptive swings, and if she could, she would swing all day long! This past January, Macie took her first steps using a gait trailer, and her family and friends are SO proud of her! To learn more about Macie's love for yoga, her mother's favorite organization providing free refurbished adaptive equipment, and more, read the interview conducted with Macie's family down below.
1. To start off, can you tell me a little bit about Macie?
Macie is 8 years old and at 6 months she was diagnosed with Spastic Quad cerebral palsy, which is a form of cerebral palsy leading her to lose sense of her whole body. She lost 70% of her blood at birth, which resulted in major damage to the left side of her brain. Macie is globally delayed; however, she is meeting milestones on her own terms! Just this past January, Macie took her first steps using a gait trainer, which is a wheeled device that helps her walk :)
2. What would surprise people the most about Macie?
People who are less accepting of individuals with disabilities would be surprised that Macie is just like any other 8 year old girl! She loves to play outside, walk to the park, swing on adaptive swings, play with dolls and her toy kitchen, and practice yoga. Macie is truly more alike than different from everyone else. It's so important for other people to realize that and treat her with the same kindness as they do with everyone else. She just does things a bit differently, and that is perfectly okay! Macie can make anyone smile and is determined to conquer the world in her own ways.
3. How do you strive to be Macie's advocate?
My mission as Macie's advocate is to create a more aware and accepting environment for Macie as well as other people with disabilities. Although they may have their differences, they deserve the same belonging as everyone else! I also hope to educate people about disabilities and different assistive tools like feeding tubes through platforms like Instagram.
4. What do you love most being Macie's parent?
Macie taught me the importance of celebrating all accomplishments no matter its size. Watching her work so hard on her goals with walking, seeing her smile, and being so proud of herself makes my day!
5. What have been the most important lessons that Macie taught you?
My daughter has taught me that no matter what challenges we face in life, if we have a positive attitude and determination, we can conquer anything. It's essential to get out of our comfort zone and to be comfortable asking for help. This is a journey we can't do by ourselves, so taking the initiative to seek out resources is so important!
6. What are some of the most helpful resources that Macie uses?
One of my favorite resources for Macie is the Children's Assistive Technology Service (https://hr.atdevicesforkids.org/), which is an organization based in Virginia that refurbishes adaptive equipment and gives it to special needs families at no cost.
7. Before we end our interview today, is there any advice you would like to share with other families who have a child with special needs?
Take life one day at a time, give yourself credit for the work that you are doing, and give yourself some grace. Hard days are bound to happen, but you will get through them. Your child having a disability will change your life for the better - you just have to be open and accepting. Take the time to celebrate all the accomplishments, no matter how little.