Our January SuperParent – Billy Samuel Mwape

An Innovative Way to Support Children with Special Needs

Billy Samuel Mwape is the Zambian father of a little boy called Lubuto who, like Lily, has cerebral palsy.  In September 2020 he gave a TED Talk entitled “An Innovative Way to Support Children with Special Needs”   In his talk he describes the approach he and his wife have taken to early intervention for Lubuto:  they dub it “Agile Parenting”.

Both Billy and his wife are project managers, and in the jargon of  project management, an “agile” approach is one where over the course of a project, its requirements are delivered iteratively and incrementally. It is a management structure that allows you to easily adapt to changes that may arise along the way.  It involves goal-setting and includes the use of “sprints” to manage and review tasks set up to achieve those goals. 

The Mwape Family has used these professional skills to help them support their son Lubuto’s early intervention, creating goals for therapy, adapting them as he grew and when his sister was born.

As Billy’s short talk unfolds, as a parent you find yourself empathising with a rollercoaster of emotions.  I also found myself smiling in recognition as he framed how his professional skills and experience had prepared him to tackle an at-first seemingly insurmountable life-long challenge. 

“In striving for bigger goals, dare to take small sprints. 

Usually far from excellent themselves, but they add up to magnificent results.”

– Billy Samuel Mwape

Parenting children with special needs is different from parenting typically-developing children.  It requires you to dig much deeper, to live on long-depleted energy stores, to be resilient, to not lose hope, to not compare, and to celebrate the small things. 

Billy’s story is upbeat and positive and a message we all need as we gear ourselves up for the year ahead. 

For their energy, passion and commitment, I am delighted to bring this remarkable couple into the SuperLily spotlight!  

(P.S. thank you to my very clever sister, SuperLily advisor, and Lily’s godmother, Sally Evans-Amoretti for bringing Billy’s incredible TED Talk to my attention).

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