If you are a parents of a child with special needs chances are you’ve been in a situation similar to this: you are out in public with your child(ren) and someone you don’t know very well or even at all asks you a vague question about your child with special needs that makes you think they know something is “different” about your child but they aren’t going to come right out and ask.  

I’ve gotten questions like, “So, how old is he?” and, “so, he’s not able to sit up or crawl yet?” asked in ways that make me know the person is trying to fish for information about the health status of my child.

In my opinion there is a line between telling them it’s none of their business and informing them in a factual manner and my husband and I walk that line often.  

When our son was first diagnosed anyone who asked about him and his health status got a real earful as I felt the need to explain and update them completely.  

Frankly, time does not allow for me to completely fill anyone in on our son’s health journey from birth until today.  

As time has passed my responses to people have gotten shorter, partly because they probably don’t want or need so much information, and partly because it truly is not their business.  

If the person is an important part of our life and our son’s life then chances are they already have the full scoop on his diagnosis and treatment, etc.  

Fortunately we haven’t yet experienced anyone out in public being downright rude or offensive about our son’s special needs by their questions or comments but that moment will come.  

My advice to you, especially if you are new to the “parent of a child with special needs” journey, is to think about what you want people to know when they ask questions about your child.  

Come up with a short response that you are comfortable sharing with others.  

They will ask, either directly or in a round about way.  

Know that you owe nobody any kind of explanation.  

Your child’s needs are nobody’s business.  

Some people really are curious in the most caring and compassionate way, especially family and friends.  

They are quite possibly the people you will want to be prepared to share your child’s health status and situation with.

Knowing what to ask and what to share is difficult water to tread for both the people asking and the parents.  

How have you handled people asking about your child’s health and needs?

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