Neurotypical Mom, as a Special Needs Mom your world is foreign to me. Rotating seasons of soccer, cool moms club, overnight parties, and college sororities comprise a universe outside my own. Church youth camps and activities that have the word “team” in them are just painful reminders that I have a special needs child. Your child is included, mine is not. And I must find a way to turn these negatives into positives for the sake of my child’s future.
Raised competitive from a small town with sports and cheerleading in a world that didn’t include Autism makes it even more difficult to confess these surprising emotions. I’m not a whiner but what I want to do is shout “It’s not fair!” The only ones that hear or seem to want to understand this alien and painful feeling are what I’ve grown to refer to as special needs moms.
Being a Mom, Dad, Grandparent or caregiver to a special needs child takes grit. You must be a multi-tasker who can magically swallow painful alienation then cough up a smile making your child think being alone is awesome! You probably juggle the above average requirements for your special needs child while still tending to other siblings’ need for attention.
In the words of today’s youth: You Rock! You have my vote!
My closest friendships today were discovered across a crowded room. Our eyes and hearts met when we were cast aside from the popular crowd. An instant understanding of each other’s plight offered a bond to rival any instant super glue product. Why? Because we live in a different world than most of society. We play by different rules, fight different battles, and celebrate in small successes.
If you are a left-handed person forced to succeed and operate in a right-handed world, isn’t that called ambidextrous? Well, this is much the same as raising a child with special needs to ‘fit’ into a neuro-typical world.
Our advantage, gift really, is that as a special needs Mom, our view of the world and everything in it is altered because of our child.
Due to their brain’s wiring or ‘mis-firing’ their unique talent or thought processes give us new insights where we probably would have none. Do you notice the “strange behaviors” from otherwise ridiculed adults instead as “gifted” or possibly undiagnosed? I do! My previous judgmental behaviors have now given way to the perspective that you never know how someone else’s brain is wired.
So, a special needs Mom (Dad, Grandparent or caregiver) is quite the superhero. You see compassion instead of judgment; inclusion is actually put into practice instead of just being a buzz-word; and being a warrior for your child might be the strongest asset you women posses!
So here’s to you, my friend and fellow warrior. You are my kind of new hero and I wish you the very best as you equip yourself to fight on behalf of your child.
By Jennifer Allen
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