Evanston Parents Discuss The Impact of Disability on a Family

Seven years ago, the Lassmans daughter Penelope was born with multiple disabilities and there began a wild road of navigating the world anew. In this video — part of a new Patch series by Patrick and Brigid Hughes — the Lassmans discuss their experiences.

Each week, my mom, Brigid, and I post stories about how disabilities impact people's lives. We look at how businesses work to make their buildings and practices more inclusive and we also look at things many people think about but might be afraid to talk about.

Our hope is that these video stimulate conversation, so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

This week, please meet the Lassmans. I met Matt Lassman about 20 years ago and we have stayed in touch over the years. Seven years ago, when their first daughter Penelope was born, they began a new journey into the world of disability and they have invited me into their lives. 

In this video they talk with Brigid about what happened when Penelope was born, the shock, the acceptance, and the day-to-day living as a family with two other children. They talk about living in a community that is not always on the same page as they are. They also discuss how important community and friends have been in their experience. 

Kristin Lems April 19, 2012 at 01:49 PM
They seem like amazing and enlightened parents....but I have to ask, "What exactly does Penelope suffer from?" There is no explanation in the video or text. Where is she now? Thanks for sharing your lives in this way.
Matt Lassman April 19, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hi Kristin, Thanks for watching the video and for your kind words. I am Penelope's Dad, Penelope has Cerebral Palsy, a massive Hemangioma (destructive birthmark), and she had a severe stroke when she was 2 years old. Today is actually her 7th birthday and she is very much enjoying life. One year ago she had a surgery that released some of her tightness in her legs and she is now learning how to walk with a walker. She loves to be outside in the wind or in a swimming pool. She is a very happy kido. Thanks for asking, Matt.
Emily Stone (Editor) April 19, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Happy Birthday to Penelope! Thanks for letting Patrick share your family's story on Patch.


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