We wanted to hear what our regular contributors (Hayley Goleniowska, Dawn Hamilton, Stacey Warden, Julie Brocklehurst and Lenice Laverty) thought would be important points that only parents of a child with special needs would truly appreciate.
1. You’re good at hiding things
We often get into the routine of everyday life, and can sometimes manage to function on auto-pilot, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Our struggles and our pain are buried deep. There is a lot going on beneath the surface. A smile or a kind word from someone can go a long way towards making us feel like we are doing a decent job as a parent.
2. We're a little envious of families that don't have to deal with special needs
You wouldn’t change your child, not for one second, but it would be wonderful if he didn’t have so many struggles to deal with. If only life could be a little bit easier for him.
3. You are always on red alert
Coughs or cries make our ears prick-up like a wolf’s. We’re more highly attuned to anything out of the ordinary and ultra-sensitive to any potential problem, but we can’t help it. Hospitals, doctors, tears and history have made us this way. Often a cry is nothing to worry about, it’s usually not a sign of something more sinister, but it has happened before. And mama wolf can’t forget that.
4. You are strong and fragile at the same time
I think that parents of children with special needs have many of the same thoughts and feelings as parents of 'typical' children – we have days when we are strong and full of energy and ready to take on all that life can throw at us, and then there are certainly days when we feel that life is totally unfair, that we have so much more to deal with than everybody else, and that no one could possibly understand all that we go through.
5. And here’s why you don’t fall apart…
No matter how hard it is, every day with my child is a gift because we almost lost her. I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Everyday is a challenge - emotionally and physically, but one smile or kiss or form of acknowledgement from your child can make it all ok.
Did you receive adequate support and information when you received your child's diagnosis?