My Left Foot: Children with Special Needs – Child Development Example

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"My Left Foot: Children with Special Needs" is a delightful example of a paper on child development. The film My Left Foot is a 1988 Irish drama film which is a partly fictional story. The story tells of a Christy Brown who was born with cerebral palsy and thus he was only able to control his left foot. As the film opens, Christy Brown is taken to a charity event where he meets with his handler a nurse called Mary Carr. Despite the fact that Christy could not walk or talk, his family was very supportive of him and showed him love and encouragement more so his mother.

On the other hand, Christy’ s father was not supportive of his son until one day when Christy reached ten years old and drew the name “ mother” on the floor using yellowish chalk (Dir. Sheridan, My Left Foot 1). From this time on, Christy adopts painting as a hobby and gets assimilated in society with the rest of the young people around his neighborhood. The loss of Christy’ s father’ s job leads to Christy formulating a plan for his brothers to steal coal and support his family.

In the end, Christy encounters Dr. Ellen Cole who absorbs him into the school of cerebral palsy and further convinces a friend to showcase Christy’ s exhibition in his works. In a change of events, Christy goes out with Mary and together they build a relationship. The main characters in this film include Christy Brown, Bridget Fagan Brown (Christy’ s mother), Paddy Brown, and Dr. Ellen Cole. Christy was able to overcome the limitations of his born condition through the support he got from his family and the caregiver.

Christy’ s mother Fagan Brown played a huge role in giving his son the love and support he needed to grow and develop in the right ways. Here, the bond between Christy and his mother forms one of the strongest forces in My Left Foot film. The relationship between Christy and his father can be termed as being awkward and hostile and in other instances competitive. The dismissal of Christy through bullying terming him as a crippled and unfit human being based on his condition is quite inhumane coming from a parent.

Despite the hesitant support Christy’ s dad provided and which came later in his life, both parents were instrumental in bringing up their child strong to face his challenges in life. Christy’ s siblings also showed sympathy and support to their brother as seen in instances where they had to carry him in a barrow to participate in their games (Dir. Sheridan, My Left Foot 1). There exists a huge disparity between the way Christy was raised and that of his siblings or children without disability.

Christy had to be on the lookout by his mother and his siblings who had to worry about his wellbeing, unlike other typical children. Some of the strengths which existed between the mother parent and Christy, the child include support, love, and the encouragement that indeed life can still be good despite the disability limitations. This is seen in Christy's writing on the floor the word “ mother” . The weaknesses are seen from the father's parent side who believes in brutality and discrimination of the child. This is because Paddy lacks the understanding of understanding his disabled son and subsequently makes little efforts in trying to help him out of his situation (Dir.

Sheridan, My Left Foot 1). One of the striking elements which have been shown in the film My Left Foot about Christy's special needs is that through encouragement a child can be able to rise above their limitations and make it in life. For instance, when Christy typed the word “ mother” on the floor, this was evidence enough that children with special needs require attention which pays back.

Christy’ s mother is much concerned with his son that she worries about Christy’ s engagement in romantic relationships with Eileen (Dir. Sheridan, My Left Foot 1). The film My Left Foot has been an eye-opener towards the treatment of children and adults who have special needs.   One of the important aspects here is that most of the special children or adults usually may have vast talent or skills in areas that the typical human being may not be able to comprehend. Thus it is of great quintessence for such children to be given the needed care, love, and support in order for them to realize their dreams and aspirations in life (Bramlett et al 102).

For instance, it took the care of Christy’ s mother and Dr. Eileen to make sure that Christy’ s talents are brought to light and work for his benefits. My personal experience with people with special needs has been diverse from individuals with behavioral problems, cerebral palsy, and autism among others. For instance, my encounters saw me engage with friends taking out a child suffering from cerebral palsy from their wheelchair and into the swimming pool.

I learned that handling such a child requires a lot of care, patience, and great human compassion. Through this venture, I was able to learn that interacting with people with special needs places one in a position in which they are able to identify certain areas in the community which is of difficulties and therefore formulates some solutions towards overcoming such. In the same manner, it becomes easy for one to avoid stereotypical remarks made against special needs people and therefore treat them as fellow human beings with diverse capabilities (Gargiulo and Jennifer 12). Bales and Talcott (15) postulate that the best ways in which people with special needs can be able to interact with the rest of the community are through the removal of negative agents of socialization.

Most of the human opinions come from socialization entities such as family, schools, peers, and the media. The family is important since it forms the first socialization point in which people with special needs seek to establish relationships. Thus nurturing this important point forms strong bonds that go beyond just seeing a person’ s disability and more of a human with potential in their undertakings (Gargiulo and Jennifer 28).

Autism forms one of the areas in which I have vast experience in terms of dealing with children suffering from this condition. I have learned that through understanding, such children have a lot of energy and potential in their lives and all that they need is the motivation that they can make it despite their conditions. Mostly, I try and engage with their families and peers on the ideal ways in which their special needs’ kids can be assisted and the benefits that such parents can acquire from such children.


Bales, Robert F., and Talcott Parsons. Family: socialization and interaction process. Routledge, 2014.

Bramlett, Matthew D., et al. "Design and Operation of the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, 2009-2010." Vital and health statistics. Ser. 1, Programs and collection procedures 57 (2014): 1-282.

Dir. Sheridan, J. Perf. Day-Lewis, Daniel. Hugh, O’Conor. McAnally, Ray. My Left Foot. Granada Films (UK) Miramax Films.1989. DVD.

Gargiulo, Richard, and Jennifer Kilgo. An introduction to young children with special needs: Birth through age eight. Cengage Learning, 2013.

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