A mum has shared why she decided to get a tattoo for her son with cerebral palsy, explaining it is “so much more” than just an inking.
Jamie Sumner from Tennesse, USA, who has four-year-old twins and a son called Charlie, six. She explained in an Instagram post that the tattoo has become a way to communicate with her oldest child, who is non-verbal and uses a wheelchair.
The simple black outline tattoo on her wrist, depicts the The International Symbol of Access - normally seen on parking spaces and public bathrooms - alongside a heart.
“This is so much more than a tattoo,” said Sumner in an Instagram caption. “It’s the place he touches when he needs my attention.
“It’s a symbol for my kid who speaks in symbols. It’s also a message that a wheelchair does not have to be a sad thing. We love our wheels.”
The mother-of-three decided to get the tattoo while away from home at a work conference in Los Angeles and said as soon as she came back to her family, Charlie knew that the tattoo “was for him”.
Writing in a blog post for Scary Mommy, she said: “He understood instantly that it was for him, because though he is mostly nonverbal, he’s as smart as they come.
“Now, when I pick him up for school or lay him on the floor at night to change his clothes, the first thing he does is reach for my wrist. It is our point of contact and an unspoken reassurance that we are in this thing together.”
Cerebral palsy is the name for a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by a problem with the brain that occurs before, during, or soon after birth.
The NHS says symptoms can include delays in reaching development milestones - not sitting by eight months or walking by 18 months, weak arms and legs, jerky or clumsy movements, walking on tip-toes, and a range of other problems with swallowing, speech and vision.
Sumner has written extensively about her son growing up with cerebral palsy and learning to “be a mum” to her son as well as his nurse.
There’s currently no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments are available to help people with the condition have as independent a life as possible.