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Nicole’s Story

My Child Has A Hand Difference

My name is Nicole. My husband Andrew and I have three boys: Zeth, 12, Ronan, 10 and Eli, 7. We live in south-west Victoria.

Eli our youngest was born with absent Ulna Club hand. We found out about Eli’s limb difference at our 20-week scan. Everything runs through your head: ‘’will he be ok?’’, ‘’will he be able to ride a bike and play football?’’, ‘’how will he go at school?’’.

Living in a rural area we had to go to Melbourne a lot for scans and appointments as they were not sure if there were any other conditions he may have had.

He was born in Melbourne at the Royal Women’s, which was very difficult for me as I was away from my other two boys for three weeks.

When Eli was born, he only had two fingers on his little hand. He didn’t have an elbow and his right arm is half the size of his left. His fingers were fused – though they were separated at nine-months-of age at the Royal Children’s. This gave him a scissor grip, which allows him to pick up small objects.

We live in south-west Victoria

We were never offered counselling or information on organisations which, I think, would have helped us thought a very difficult time. We felt very alone. We never got a clear picture of Eli’s arm, so we were not sure of what it would look like when he was born. 

Eli is a very active boy. He plays football, can ride a bike and he even rides a two-wheel motorbike! He also loves to swim and hopes one day to make it to the Paralympic Games for swimming. He loves school and has a lot of great friends.

The one thing we decided on very early was that Eli was going to be treated just like his older brothers. When he was getting to the point of dressing himself or doing the everyday things we take for granted, we would not rush in to help him. We would just wait for him to ask for help, which has made him a very independent boy. If anyone asks him what happened to his arm, he just replies that he was born this way. It’s an answer most kids are very happy with.

We found out about Aussie Hands through social media. It has allowed us to meet other parents with kids with limb differences, which is fantastic. The only thing is unfortunately we can only get to about one or two get-together’s a year.

I hope my story helps other parents living in a rural area going through what we went through. I am more than willing to talk to anyone.

As a preschool teacher, I work closely with our local Early Intervention service so, just a week after birth, I trotted into the girls there to have a chat with them and see what was available. All the advice was the same: to enjoy our gorgeous girl and see how she grew and adapted – which is exactly what we did.

I fell back on my experience working with children with disabilities. This, combined with the support of the Early Intervention girls and that of my fantastic husband, helped me cope with coming to terms with things.

We found out about Aussie Hands through social media. It has allowed us to meet other parents with kids with limb differences, which is fantastic.