10 Important Lessons I learned from Raising a Child with Disabilities. These lessons are universal, and they apply to anyone.

10 Lessons I learned from Raising a Child with Disabilities – Part 4

10 Important Lessons I learned from Raising a Child with Disabilities. These lessons are universal, and they apply to anyone.


4. The power of small wins.

When you have a regular healthy child, you tend to take many things for granted. That he will walk; that she will talk; be increasingly independent over time, etc. Naturally, we set our expectations high, and define success accordingly. High grades in school; excellence in sports; higher education degrees, and successful careers. Raising a child with disabilities puts things in perspective for you. In my view, the right perspective. Nothing can be, nor should be taken for granted. That becomes apparent very quickly. You measure progress in very small increments. Your resolution becomes very fine.

In the first year of her life our daughter could only lay on her back. Not turn from side to side, not crawl, nor sit. Just lying on her back. That’s when we started intensive physical therapy. I literally had to teach her how to do everything. How to turn over, crawl, stand, walk, run. We would work with her for hours every day.

To teach her to walk, and strengthen her legs, I started teaching her to climb stairs in our apartment building. At first, it was one step up, one down. Slowly that increased to two, three, and later one flight of stairs. Then two floors, then three. I would take her to the park where I would teach her to walk by climbing the slide. First, she could only take one or two steps. Later she was able climb all the way up.

It was a very long, and often frustrating process. There were many set-backs and discouraging moments. At times, it was heartbreaking to see her struggle and cry in pain as she was trying to develop these basic motoric skills.

To stay positive and not lose faith, we measured progress in very small steps, literally. If she climbed one more step than the day before, or walked for a minute longer it was a success. We were happy and excited. We view achievements and success very differently than we did before she was born.

This continues to date.

We cannot take anything for granted in life. If we define achievements and success in monumental terms, we will be frustrated and disappointed most of the time. That’s not a good and happy way to go through life.

In fact, a Harvard research has shown that making progress in a meaningful work, is the single most significant factor affecting people’s happiness in the workplace. Furthermore, even a very minor progress would make an impact.

It’s not to say that we should not aim high. By all means we should. But, we should also stop to appreciate and enjoy the many small successes along the way. I think it would make us happier with ourselves and our lives.

For example, Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, set a very ambitious goal for SpaceX:  enable people to live on other planets. Clearly, that’s a very long term goal that may take years to achieve, if at all. To meet that goal, the company needs to execute on its multi-stage multi-year plan. This requires its employees to stay focused, motivated, and creatively innovative. Hence, they need to feel that they are making progress in this very meaningful work.

Therefore, SpaceX has broken its long-term goal into a series of smaller goals and milestones. Each milestone critical to achieving the ultimate goal. For example, one of these milestones was to launch a rocket to space and bring it back safely and intact. This gives SpaceX opportunities to recognize and celebrate many small wins, and create a strong sense of progress for its employees and other stakeholders.

As for our daughter, we don’t know how far her potential can develop. We believe that she can reach high. And we are delighted with every additional step she climbs in her development ladder.


Here are links to Part 1,  Part 2 and Part 3 of this 10-part post, in case you didn’t get a chance to read them yet.


2 thoughts on “10 Lessons I learned from Raising a Child with Disabilities – Part 4

  1. Dear Ziv,

    Thank you very much for part 4 of your 10 Posts.
    As with your previous Posts I am very impressed and identify with the idea of Small Wins.

    Actually that could be applied to any efforts made in life whenever a person tries to achieve any goal. In particularly if it is about bringing up a disable child.

    As you mentioned before, the first basic element in this mission is LOVE. You and your wife have ample of that towards your child.

    Step by step with great care and endless of patience you have slowly achieved improvements in the child’s condition. I am sure she feels your love and efforts to help her, even when she cries.

    You mentioned Elon Musk. I know about him, he was born in Pretoria, South Africa. He has great dreams which he is pursuing with constant wins, some very quickly and some will take place within longer terms, as you mentioned.

    I like a lot the coloured photo of you and your daughter. It is your vision. Your hopes for winnings. You actually achieved a lot of it.

    Thank you again Ziv. Your attitude is very inspiring and can encourage many people facing similar challenges.

    I hope to write to you more comments in the near future.

    Have a nice Chanuka,


    1. Dear Sarah,

      Many thanks for taking the time to read my post, and for your kind comment.
      I greatly appreciate it.

      I look forward to your future comments on my next posts in this 10-post series.

      I wish you and yours a very happy Hanukkah.

      All the Best,

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