Through a series of blogs, I am going to share my experience of having a child that has special needs. I really don’t think his needs are all that “special”, just different from the typical child. Just getting to a place where I can say to myself, I have a child with special needs, has taken some time. Saying it out loud to others is scary as hell. My close friends and family have been a part of this journey. They have been and continue to be a huge safety net for us. No judgement. Just acceptance and accommodation as needed. It’s a blessing. But that is not the real world. I don’t live in a bubble and as much as I want to create one for my child I know that I can’t. I hope by sharing our experiences it will help some people be more open-minded and more tolerant. I also hope this touches people who need it. That it is shared with a friend of a friend of a friend who is recognizing the same behaviors but doesn’t know where to turn. I have learned a lot, and I hope you will too.
I have been introduced to a world I wasn’t aware of before. There is a whole new vocabulary(sensory processing disorder), array of professionals (I didn’t know existed) and standards to go with it. I compare it to learning music. If you have ever been in a music class or tried to learn to play an instrument, then you know it can feel overwhelming. Musicians have their own language. Think about all the different types of music and instruments that exist. I could not just open a piano book and understand what it was telling me to do, because I do not know the meaning of the words used in the book. Children with special needs don’t fit into one kind of mold. The same disorder can look very different from one child to the next. Many disorders have overlapping symptoms so narrowing it down to the correct diagnosis is difficult. Then there is the world of treatment. You have to figure out what your child really needs. Different therapist have different approaches. Bring the school into it, and you have that many more people to get on the same page. What your insurance (if you have it) will cover, what you can afford to pay for out-of-pocket (because insurance doesn’t cover much) and how much time you have to devote to therapy are all things you have to consider? It’s overwhelming.
All parents have the same hopes and dreams for their kids. That they will grow into mature, well-adjusted, happy adults that contribute to society and find what it is they are meant to do. My dream for my child is the same, however the journey to get him there is likely going to be different.