Friday, March 30, 2012

Special Needs Woes=Special Needs Wows!

As a parent of special needs children, it is really easy to slip into the poor me mindset. I have to work hard for everything for my children and there are really very few people in the world who "get" it. Those people who do understand have special needs children for their very own, making it an exclusive little club. It's easy to focus on what your children canNOT do and to compare them to other kids the same age...especially when that is exactly what all of the professionals in our life do with them.  But, when it comes down to it, I get to experience something that typical parents do not: the wows of the little things.

Having my typical daughter and my experience working in various settings with kids has made me realize that the average child does stuff pretty much on their own. They sit on their own, talk on their own, eat on their own... you can work with them to speed it up some, but really, they will still do it. How many typical kids don't eat or talk by the time that they are 5? It doesn't matter if they sat up a month late once they are doing it. With the assurance that these things will eventually happen, their parents will take things for granted.

With a special needs child, however, EVERY milestone that they hit is huge. I remember calling people when my boys were babies with tears in my eyes, shouting, "Andrew grabbed a rattle with both hands and brought it to his mouth!!!!" or  when they were 3 1/2, "Benjamin FINALLY ate solid food!" Yeah... people think I am a crazy insane mom who celebrates every little thing, and with the boys, they are RIGHT. And, I deserve to celebrate every little thing.  I also get to CRY at every little gain. I have worked and fought and taught and spent hours upon hours with them to get them to do things that other kids just do... and it's hard... but it's totally, completely, and utterly worth it.

When you ask how my kids are doing, don't expect a simple "great" because really, "great" cannot quantify all that is going on... neither can "same ol' same ol'." Expect a detailed explanation of the fine motor and social gains that my son has made that now allow him to point at a person or an object with one finger and how absolutely amazing he is by learning how to do this. And, like I said, most people don't understand.

I count myself as lucky that I get to be in this exclusive parenting group that does not miss these incredible things. We are cheerleaders. With that being said, I am going to go sit and secretly watch my boys argue with each other. Because in all actuality, it is something normal that they are doing that they never should have been able to.... and it is a new "gain" for Ben.

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