"Good Morning, My Miracle Boy"
What you need to know about parenting a child with a disability
(GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.) According to Cerebral Palsy Information Central, in the next 12 months an average of 8,000 babies --about two of every 1,000--will be born with cerebral palsy. What if your child is one of them?
Johnnie Tuitel (pronounced "title") was born with cerebral palsy. His parents, shaking off the doctor’s advice to put him in a home and concentrate on their "normal" children, raised him to feel that he was no different than anyone else.
"One morning my mother came in, leaned over my crib and said, ‘Good morning, my miracle boy,’" says Tuitel. "They never made me feel like I was disabled, even when I was in leg braces or in a wheelchair, and that gave me such a strong faith in myself and my abilities."
Tuitel’s parents knew quickly that the best way to raise a disabled child was to just let him be a kid. Tuitel and his wife now use the same philosophy to parent their own children.
Today Tuitel uses that strength to be a support system for parents of disabled children. He is the co-author of The Gun Lake Adventure Series, a group of four books with the fifth due out this fall that features a fictionalized version of Tuitel named Johnnie Jacobson. An uncommon protagonist, Jacobson is a preteen sleuth who, from his wheelchair, leads a group of friends on mystery-solving adventures. The series helps parents explain disabilities, diversity and overcoming obstacles and challenges to their children.
A former high school teacher, Tuitel is also the founder of Alternatives in Motion, a nonprofit organization with the mission to provide wheelchairs for people who, for lack of insurance or other reasons, cannot afford them. It is the only organization of its kind to pay 100 percent of the costs associated with purchasing a wheelchair.
"Having grown up with a disability, and now being a parent with a disability," says Tuitel. " I know there’s not a lot of help out there for these kind of situations."
Tuitel can discuss many topics related to parenting and disabilities, including:
- What every parent needs to know to raise a disabled chil
- What happens when the parent has the disability
- Disabilities and the educational system: Tuitel’s experiences as a student and a teacher
- His work to promote disability concerns
Michigan Gov. John Engler recently reappointed Tuitel to the state’s commission on disability concerns. He is a recipient of the National Easter Seals Society’s prestigious EDI (Equality, Dignity, Independence) Award and winner of the United Way of Michigan’s Speaker of the Year Award for his work as a motivational speaker.For more information on The Gun Lake Adventure Series, or to request an interview with Johnnie Tuitel, please call Kelli Kirkland, Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists, (512) 478-2028 or e-mail email@example.com.
Publicist -Phenix & Phenix Inc.
4412 Spicewood Springs Suite 102
Austin, TX 78759---(512) 478-2028, x 211