New Series With a Brief Twist

Hi readers,

The next few weeks here on the IndependenceChick blog are going to be a bit odd. I have a new series for you, but it’s going to contain an interruption.

Thanks to Christian psychologist and birth order expert Dr. Kevin Leman, I got the idea to dedicate July to a series on birth order and how disability can affect it, and vice versa. For example, Dr. Leman theorizes that if a PWD is born as the oldest child in the family, but his or her disability is severe, then younger siblings may “pass” the PWD and take on classic characteristics of older children. That’s true in some cases, but not in others, and I’d like to take a look at other situations that can arise. I’d also like to discuss the birth order positions themselves–that is, how a PWD can maximize the strengths and benefits inherent in his or her family position. This can help that person:
(A. Define or redefine identity in the context of birth order and disability, without either one taking over personhood
(B. Compensate for weaknesses brought on by either disability or birth order/family dynamics
(C. Learn more about self and other people/understand and empathize more, increasing ability to be a team player at school, work, house of worship, etc.

However, there will be a brief interruption to this series around July 4. Why? Because July 4 is Independence Day. That’s an important day for anybody, but especially on a blog that encourages PWDs to find their own independence, whether or not that involves what other people think it should. Birth order doesn’t have much to do with that though, so look for a special Independence Day post. What will it be about? Well, that’s a surprise, but here’s a hint: make sure you have your sunglasses, a shady spot, and a drink with one of those little umbrellas in it. I’ll be bringing a Shirley Temple, extra cherries.

See you soon for our first birth order post. Since they’re the ones who get overlooked most often, I’m going to go out of order and start the series with middle kids. Bring some Oreos–or your favorite cream- or chocolate-filled dessert. (Ice cream with chocolate shell counts, too).



  1. Hello Chick:

    Leman certainly has some interesting views. [I wonder what he thinks about Disability Adjusted Life Years?]

    Multiple birth and disability are very often connected – for example the youngest or oldest of a triplet set might be disabled. And what happens when there’s a family loss – when the sibling dies near birth or as a teenager or a tween?

    When the PWD spends time around other families as part of respite or permanent care – are they part of that family too – and how does that affect?

    I will be interested to see how people make the most of their family position.

    Also what about extended families/those of the “same” generation?

    The “Passing” thing.

    My favourite cream dessert would probably be sponge cake with jam in it. Chocolate-filled is a bit harder.

    1. Hi Adelaide,

      Yes, he does have interesting views. I don’t agree with him on everything, but he makes some great points about a lot of things, such as family dynamics. I have no idea what he thinks about DALYs, but I do know what I think: no matter what the doctors and experts say your life expectancy is, that’s not in any human’s control. And, even if your life expectancy is “adjusted,” you should have the best quality of life possible. Nothing would make me more upset than an able-bodied person using DALYs to say, “Well, this just means that person isn’t worth time and effort.”

      Respite care and extended families–hmmm, interesting point. Leman does discuss adoption and blended families, but not respite care. That’s part of why I’m choosing to do this series–there just are not a lot of informational books for PWDs who are also of the Judeo-Christian persuasion. What is available is often about “overcoming” and “having a good attitude”–not to knock any of that, but no matter how much you smile, you’re still gonna have to cope with CP, or MS, or whatever. As I’ve written before on the blog, some basic Judeo-Christian teachings, when handled the wrong way, can actually make persons with disabilities feel pretty lousy about themselves and their lives.

      Sponge cake with jam, eh? Sounds good. 🙂 Ever try shortbread cookies with raspberry filling? Sounds right up your alley.

      1. Yes, Chick:

        I love most everything with shortbread – with cream or not. Danish shortbread is especially good.

        Glad you said what you think about DALYs. I know some people with limited DALYs are considered more time and effort/more worth investment – especially if they are under 5 or over about 80. But “working age” does seem to affect more.

        I saw that Leman had discussed adoption in a way. I wonder if there are Judeo-Christian books about this particular calling [respite care]?

        I have seen the “overcoming” all too well. “And all that smiling never made a ramp appear or the book in braille” – from the late Stella Young.

        Yes – real fruity raspberries!

        Middles demand nuance – as I noticed in your last writing.

    2. Exactly! It doesn’t matter if you’re a living, breathing saint, you’re still going to need modifications and equal treatment, and if those things aren’t there, life can suck. It’s something I wish people, but especially Judeo-Christians, would own up to. For example, I’m sure there are books or at least stories about respite care. Yet they tend to be reminiscent of Chicken Soup for the Soul, where the person with the disability is almost deified. Yuck.

      Yes, middles do demand nuance, so much that I almost regretted starting with them. Almost. But they’re fascinating because they can go any number of directions–it all depends on what kind of middle they are, the home they were raised in, and what was and was not expected of them. Certainly, a middle child with CP who is taught, “You are more capable than you think” is going to turn out differently than a middle child who is expected to just sit around and “be disabled.” (Note that I’m not talking about severity; I’m talking about the person who is capable, yet is consistently treated as incapable). This being said, other positions have their nuances as well, which is why people write books about the birth order phenomenon–and make a mint. 🙂

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