Several years ago I first read about Nick Vujicic, a man born with no limbs, and have read several of his books, such as Life Without Limits, his first book, and Love Without Limits, is which he and his wife write about their courtship and marriage. For another perspective on Nick's life, his father, Boris Vujicic, has written Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child: Facing Challenges with Strength, Courage, and Hope.
Vujicic tells some of the same stories that Nick tells in his books, but coming from the point of view of the father, the stories take on a different vein. All parents will appreciate Vujicic's book, but parents of children with disabilities will especially benefit. Vujicic begins with an honest admission. Any parent who has a child with a disability, whether the disability is discovered in utero, is evident at birth, or develops or is discovered later on, can relate to the Vujicic's shock and surprise upon seeing newborn Nick with no arms or legs. They had no indication of Nick's condition during the pregnancy.
The Vujucics were devastated. They had no framework for processing this. They had serious doubts about whether they could care for a child with a disability. Some counseled them to consider adoption, which they did in earnest before making the decision to keep him. With some regret and pain they told Nick this story later on.
Vujicic has a lot to offer for parents raising disabled children. Although Nick's condition is rather unique, there are plenty of aspects of living with disabilities that are shared no matter what disability a child has. Speaking of Nick's relationship with his siblings, Vujicic writes that having Nick first helped his younger siblings to be comfortable with Nick and not bothered by his disability. They never knew life without Nick. Vujicic said that he and Nick's mother had to be careful not to show favoritism, though. Just because he might have difficult doing chores doesn't mean they can't find something for him to do around the house!
I especially appreciated the Vujicic's stubborn insistence that Nick attend mainstream classes with his peers, rather than being in a segregated school or classroom. The Vujicic family began a movement in Australia which led to desegregation of schools, placing disabled children in mainstream classes everywhere. Vujicic's thoughts on inclusion are short and sweet: "Sooner or later, Nick would have to live and work among the general population. Our feeling was the more he learned to deal with the real world, the better." Amen, brother! Thank you for standing up for the rights of children.
Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child has great parenting advice for any parent. Parents of children with disabilities, however, should take note. Nick is now a much sought-after speaker, traveling the world, inspiring people to live a "ridiculously good life." A major factor shaping him into the inspiring leader that he is, is the no-nonsense way in which he was raised. Parents of a child who has a disability should especially consider Vujicic's practical wisdom.
Thanks to Blogging for Books and the publisher for the complimentary review copy!