Let's be real for a moment: there's still a huge stigma surrounding people and children with special needs.
The majority of society still believes that a child with special needs is a child that has something "wrong" with them.
I cannot tell you how many times I've wanted to strangle somebody who asks "what's wrong with your kid?" because my son talks differently and has other developmental delays.
In our house, we embraces his differences as uniqueness that adds to why he is so perfect in our eyes.
It also frustrates me that many people don't see past Cooper's differences to realize how truly special he is beyond his struggles.
Since Cooper's diagnosis, I have been that crazy mom who feels the need to educate every person I meet about my son's developmental and learning delays.
Okay, so maybe I'm not standing in the streets handing out flyers detailing the ins and outs of developmental delays, but any time Cooper's delays are called into question, I quickly jump into teaching mode, especially when the "r-word" is used.
Though it still makes me incredibly angry to hear people make wrong assumptions about Cooper, I have learned the best defense is a good offense.
Nothing quiets a bumbling idiot faster than telling them something they don't know that challenges their poor assumptions.
So, with a sweet smile on my face, I happily share that no, Cooper's not "dumb" but in fact his IQ is above average though his developmental delays sometimes prevent him from sharing all that he knows.
In the early days of Cooper's diagnosis process, I admit I was afraid to talk about Cooper's struggles.
Because of this, I withdrew from many of my friends for a time until I realized they still cared for both me and my son, and that the only way to talk to them about his struggles was to teach them.
Nowadays, I jump at the chance to educate someone about not only Cooper's delays but special needs in general.
For some reason, so many are under the impression that talking to parents of children with special needs about their child's needs is somehow taboo.
It's because of these stigmas, that I think one of our biggest jobs as a parents is constantly advocating for our children, not only with the public, but with our children's doctors, relatives, and even educators.
We know and love our kids more than anyone else and it's up to us to make sure they are receiving the best care and love and support they can get.
Never stop looking for ways to advocate for your child and their needs.
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