Our goal has always been to raise awareness, to help promote inclusion and to break down some of the barriers Dexter will face in life.
In a nurturing environment, children are very quick to accept and accommodate. And, if they have a little knowledge of cerebral palsy, they'll most likely see Dexter (rather than his disability) much faster.
And, when they 'see' Dexter, they'll be more likely to include him.
As Dexter heads to preschool, we'll work on a short video, or power point presentation to explain his cerebral palsy to his peers.
We'll write a letter, introducing him to his new teachers.
We'll write the words Dexter can't yet say.
And that got us to thinking...
Are there many children's books and stories out there about people with cerebral palsy... books and stories where cerebral palsy isn't a terrible thing... where disability isn't all bad?
Is there a book or story in which one of the main characters is happy and bold and adventurous and determined and clever... and also has cerebral palsy?
Is there anything to show the bravery, determination and strength of people with cerebral palsy... is there anything to show their cheeky humour?
We want to know about those books!
We found one story: The Mermaid in the Gherkin Jar.
This is a children's book, aimed at children aged 7-11 years old.
(All information about The Mermaid in the Gherkin Jar was taken from the book's website)
Eight year old Christopher has been home schooled with his twin brother, Oliver.
Christopher has mild cerebral palsy, and relies on a metal frame to walk.
When Christopher's parents decide to send the boys to school, things change.
For the first time, Christopher feels ashamed of his cerebral palsy, realising just how different it makes him.
The school bully makes this even worse.
Christopher is outgoing and determined, while his brother is quieter, and watches Christopher from a distance.
Christopher's best friend, Benjamin, is a rogue who loves fun and games, and Christopher's walking frame.
Claire is a girl who forms a beautiful relationship over time with Christopher... and then, there's Azalea, the enchanting and mysterious mermaid, who is trapped in Grandad's gherkin jar.
The Mermaid in a Gherkin Jar was written by Tony Seymour.
Tony wanted to write a book to help raise awareness of cerebral palsy. There are very limited books on the subject, and books where the main character also has cerebral palsy are almost unheard of. Tony has started to change that. He wrote Mermaid in a Gherkin Jar to help children learn about cerebral palsy, while being swept up in a great story.
Tony himself, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, at aged two.
Doctors advised he would have trouble walking unaided.
After two major operations and with dogged willpower and oodles of physiotherapy, Tony is now able to walk unaided.
Tony grew up in Bolton, in the north west of England.
He said: I think I’ve had quite a good relationship with my disability. It’s partly responsible for making me the resiliently determined (some might say stubborn!) person I am today.
Tony is a solicitor, stand up comedian and author.
“Differences like yours and mine are nothing to be ashamed of, Christopher,” she said. “…They are not weaknesses but strengths…”
Artist, Margaret Hughlock, was the illustrator for this childrens' book.
The Mermaid in the Gherkin Jar is the first book she has illustrated.
Margaret creates sculptures and works of art for the print market in the UK, USA and Italy.
And, thanks to Tony Seymour, for writing a book full of fun, adventure and personal growth... where the main character just happens to have cerebral palsy.
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If you know of other books that portray cerebral palsy (or special needs)
in a positive light, we'd love to know about them.