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Heather’s Story

I am a Parent with a Hand Difference

I was so excited to learn that Aussie Hands existed! While out shopping I met a family whose little boy had the same left hand as mine, and I started chatting with the mum who asked whether I was a member. I joined straight away because it’s not every day that you meet people who understand life with a hand difference. It’s nice to have a community of people like me.

My name is Heather and my difference is known as symbrachydactyly – my left hand has a prominent thumb and 4 little stubs for fingers. I’m 36 and have 2 children, and it’s great to be able to offer advice or suggestions based on my experiences as a parent with a hand difference.

There hasn’t been a situation yet that I can’t deal with because of my hand difference. Anyone with a hand difference would know we just adapt to tasks and do it in our own way. Plus, there are so many wonderful baby products out there to make life easier.

Since becoming a member of Aussie Hands, I have loved seeing what people are achieving, it’s very inspiring. For example, I always thought I would never be able to play a guitar but have since started to learn the ukulele – backwards of course!

I currently work as a paediatric OTA (occupational therapy assistant). I am quite passionate about the needs of children on the spectrum and developmental challenges. I love spending time with the kids and helping them develop new skills. It is a very rewarding, challenging and unpredictable job!

Having a hand difference, I would like to think that I would be just as accepting of others and their physical differences even if I didn’t have one myself.

For relaxation I enjoy going for bush walks with my family, we love going to the beach and the park on beautiful days. When I get time, I love to sew, I make quilts mostly. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and family.

To young adults, I would say … Give everything a go, don’t listen to negativity, be the person you are inside and let that shine. If people can’t accept you for who you are and the way you are, they aren’t worthy of your time. You will find people that love you for the amazing person you are. My husband always forgets about my hand and recently questioned why there were only right-hand gloves in the cupboard!

To parents, I would say… Your child will be fine! I have learnt to tie shoelaces, hand sew, knit and am learning to play the ukulele now. As a child I tried a range of sports including netball, tee ball, and tennis. I may do those things a little differently to others, but I can still do them. I had (and still have) a fantastic group of friends growing up.

Teach your child to love themselves, explain that people/other kids are curious and will ask questions.

My family and friends don’t see me as a person that is different because of my hand, they see me as me, the tall girl with curly hair!

Thanks to Heather for sharing her story.

Help Aussie Hands continue to support people like Heather by making a donation.