I do not want to be known as “the family with the little boy who has special needs.”   

Don’t get me wrong - I am not ashamed of my son or the fact that he has special needs. 

He was created that way, he is our son, and he is a blessing to our family.  

But nobody wants to be defined by his or her needs, impairments, injuries, etc. 

A family with all healthy children tends to avoid these labels as nobody calls them “the family with the blonde haired girl and the little boy with dimples.”  

No, the labels only tend to come into play when something is different about a child or person in the family. 

When I first heard one of our son’s therapists use the term “special needs” to describe my son it nearly took my breath away.  

Special needs???  

She must be talking about the OTHER kids she works with.  

No, actually, she’s talking about my son. 

Our son has special needs.  

That was quite the concept to wrap my brain around…almost a grieving process of sorts.  

As parents of this child with special needs we had to grieve the loss of the healthy typically developing little boy we expected to have and embrace the remarkable little boy we have been blessed with.  

But there is so much more to him than his diagnosis.  

He is not a disease or disability, he is a child. 

I want people to see him for the courageous, hard working, determined, sweet little boy that he is.  

There are days when it takes a lot for me to not stop someone in the grocery store who passes us by with a long gaze towards my son in his GoTo seat and say to them, “Yes, he has a strange looking chair and special needs but he is so much more than that, he’s an amazing little boy!” 

I encourage you, whether you are a parent of a child with special needs or not, to be aware of how you define others.  

Think about how you want to be defined. 

Is it by your appearance, disabilities, and needs or by your greatest attributes?  

Chances are a child with special needs, who hasn’t chosen this journey by the way, would like to be defined by all of the things that they ARE able to do, and by their most positive qualities.

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