HemiKids are those afflicted by hemiparesis or hemiplegia. Children with hemiparesis suffer from weakness on one side of their bodies, which makes using limbs, hands, and feet difficult. Children with hemiplegia suffer from immobility on one side of their bodies, which makes moving limbs, hands, and feet nearly, if not entirely, impossible.
There are several causes of hemiparesis and hemiplegia, all of which involve some sort of trauma to the brain. Ewing’s right-sided hemiparesis and subsequent cerebral palsy resulted from his stroke in utero. While the causes of hemiparesis and hemiplegia vary, the struggles HemiKids face are similar.
Many HemiKids spend hours of their lives in therapy, working on improving range of motion on their affected side and using their limbs, hands, and feet for tasks like walking, feeding, and playing. And all those hours of therapy don’t stop when they leave the office.
HemiKids are bombarded with therapeutic tasks from parents, siblings, and teachers. Everything they do becomes a form of therapy, whether it’s playing outside or giving themselves a bath. Something many HemiKids find inescapable is the command to use their affected side — right hand, left hand, right leg, left leg — as much as possible.
In fact, parents of HemiKids practically tell their children to use their right or their left something-or-other in their sleep. It becomes second nature, this commanding — as natural as chewing before swallowing or looking for oncoming traffic before crossing the street.
What parents of HemiKids find surprising, though, are some of the things they tell their kids to do with their right or left — things they never imagined they’d say to their children in a million years.
Don’t throw food on the floor like that! Throw food on the floor with your right hand.
Don’t pick your nose with that finger! Pick your nose with your right finger.
Don’t hit your brother like that! Hit your brother with your right hand.
Pick your lip with your right hand.
Hit the dog with your right hand.
Slap Mommy with your right hand.
Flip that guy off with your right hand.
Kick the neighborhood bully with your right leg.
Knock over the hostess’s priceless vase with your right arm.
Punch a hole in my wall with your right fist.
Spill Kool-Aid on the carpet with the cup in your right hand.
Smear chocolate on the couch with your right hand.
Dump water on your cousin’s head with the bucket in your right hand.
Spray the cat with the hoseusing your right arm.
Rip out my tulips with your right hand.
Draw on the wall with your right hand.
Scratch the car with the keys in your right hand.
During your temper tantrum, be sure to kick and flail your right limbs, too.
Put your brother in a choke hold using your right arm.
Stick that bean in your right ear.
Break this with your right.
Stain that with your right.
Ruin this with your right.
Destroy that with your right.
That’s correct. We parents of HemiKids never dreamed we’d say some of these things, but everything’s a form of therapy for our children. Everything. Even rolling around on the floor of a fancy restaurant. (Provided, of course, they’re rolling to the right.)