• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

Special needs parenting: “I chose you”

Special needs parenting: “I chose you”

Have you seen the film on Netflix called “The Willoughbys”?

It is our six year old triplets absolute favourite (this week anyway!).

It wouldn’t have been one I’d have thought they’d enjoy because it has what I feel are quite “mature” themes, including the absence of parental love.

In saying that, they think it is absolutely hilarious and when chatting to me casually about it I was able to see that they have most definitely grasped the overall messages.

It’s funny isn’t it, how children’s films can appeal so little to adults yet be absolutely spot on for the kids!

Our little man who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus, epilepsy and learning disabilities in particular really enjoys watching it.

His favourite part is the song that goes along with it, called “I chose you”.

Jacob is naturally drawn to music and uses it to communicate with us if he is having a seizure or he is struggling to express himself.

Music will generally bring him out of a non epileptic seizure and sometimes even the bigger epileptic ones.

If nobody else is around to have to endure my “singing”...we will sing it together and he always makes sure to look right into my eyes and say, clearly, “I chose you”.

That’s pretty much the point I have to hold back the tears and pretend like I’m not a soppy overtired mama!

What a perfect opportunity though to discuss his disabilities with him!

He has asked me in the past if I hate his spina bifida and I always say “no”.

To me, hating that is hating a part of my child who I love unconditionally.

Jacob without his medical conditions is not MY Jacob, and I wouldn’t trade my superstar for anything.

So I tell all three, often, “I chose you” and make sure they know I will always choose them exactly as they are.

Given his behavioural difficulties that mimic ASD in a lot of ways, I use a line “Now I found the strength, to make a change, look at the magic I’ve found” to gently remind him that sometimes change can lead to beautiful things.

It sounds really silly, and I can understand that to other people it probably is.

It works for our family though so I’m not worried about how it looks on the outside.

Another great one he likes is “Ohana means family, family means no one gets left behind or forgotten” from Lilo and stitch.

We actually have a decal on our wall of this quote and family pictures around it.

If we are out for a walk and Ben and Chloe want to do something that would exclude Jacob e.g. climbing trees, we compromise and set a time limit to it.

Then we come back together and Jacob will happily say “Ohana” and move on.

For a child with learning disabilities, it is remarkable to me that he can retain and genuinely understand the sentiment behind these things!

Despite being a complete musical flop myself, it feels so precious for me to have found a way to communicate with Jacob that is relaxed, informal and great fun!

We now do music as part of our daily routine and will sometimes have kitchen discos!

Thankfully for our neighbours, we live in a detached house....

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Katrina Dorrian

Meet Our Blogger

Hi! I'm Katrina, I have 8yr old triplets; one who has spina bifida, hydrocephalus and epilepsy. I also have MS, so we've a busy (but happy) house!

View Katrina’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...