What I Learned From Having a Child with Special Needs

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I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, filling out a questionnaire about my 2-year-old, who was happily playing in the “kiddie corner”.

Does your child eat at least 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day? YES. Does your child kick a ball? YES. Does your child speak two-word sentences?

I hesitated. My pencil hovered over the check box, and slowly, I marked the box indicating “no.” In the quietness of that waiting room, I felt as though I would explode from the multitude of questions and concerns that raced through my mind.

Is there something wrong with my child because he’s not speaking in sentences yet? Is it a red flag that most of his talking is largely gibberish? Can’t he just be a late bloomer, and it won’t be long before he hits this milestone?

It was a typical well-child exam with our pediatrician but marked the beginning of a journey that we are still on today, taking us to countless evaluations, assessments, speech pathologists, child development experts, doctors, and specialists.

I wish I could tell you I was unwavering in my resolve to care for my child with special needs.

Truth is I am sometimes plagued with doubts, fears, depression, and thoughts of failing as a mom.

What keeps me standing firm in the midst of a lot of uncertainty is God Himself and the lessons He has taught me from this experience of being a mom of a child with special needs.

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There Will Always Be Questions

The first diagnosis we received was that our child had severe language delays (Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder), but as he continued to stall in his development, questions only increased. The gap between him and his peers widened. Later, he was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.

But these labels don’t eliminate the questions and concerns. Rather, we realized how much more we need to seek answers, find help, and most importantly, get on our knees to pray.

A Parent Still Knows Best

We’ve seen many so-called experts, and though they may have a lot of knowledge in their fields, we are truly the experts when it comes to our child. We have taken some of the helpful information from doctors and specialists, but it is up to us to determine exactly how best to apply them in all the particulars of our child.

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My Child is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I have sought to know and understand my child deeper than I would ever imagine. But still, there is none who is more intimately acquainted with him and all his ways than the One who created him. God didn’t overlook him or make a mistake. He doesn’t consider him unimportant or love him less. My child is God’s creation, “knitted together” and “intricately woven” by His hands (Psalm 139:13-15).

Though, in my humanness, I will occasionally ask the all-too-familiar question, “Why God?”, I am always brought to my knees with the same peaceful answer that surpasses all comprehension.

My child was made for my good and God’s glory!

 

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20 thoughts on “What I Learned From Having a Child with Special Needs

  1. This is so beautiful!! I can relate: your post reminded me of those early uncertain days raising a child with autism and another with Down syndrome. Our journey has been full of hope, disappointment, traditional and alternative therapies, surprising overnight successes, snail’s pace improvement and flat out failures. The one constant? My faith in the Lord has grown exponentially from raising my children. Some days present challenges, other days are pure joy and hope, but always God stands before, beckoning me to give up a bit more control and trust His path for their future more soundly. Remember that He has them in His hands and the He can hold you up when you want to fall from the stress of it all. As Paul write: “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9) Praying for you on this journey!

    1. I love that verse that you shared. It has been one of the verses that God has hidden in my heart throughout this journey. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t have God’s promises to cling to.

    1. Yeah, I know they make you fill those out so they have an idea of your child’s development. But not everyone will fill the same mold.

  2. I LOVE this post! My daughter was diagnosed with ASD in August 2013, and I know exactly what you went through and go through today. I know the fear that can creep in without warning. I know the utter joy of small progress. I know the questions that loom overhead. Through our brief journey, I’ve learned how tangible God is and how much He truly comforts His children. It’s through His strength alone that I can know no matter what the future holds, God holds us both in the palm of His mighty hand. I’m stopping by from Christian Women Blogs and am now a new follower. I love connecting with other special needs moms!

    1. I think I’ve covered the whole spectrum of emotions during this journey. But no matter how I feel, God remains the same. It’s still very challenging, but enough time has passed from that day at the pediatrician’s office that I can honestly testify of God’s power working in me and in my child. So glad to have connected with you too!

  3. So true that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made for God’s glory. Each and everyone has an important purpose. Your son is blessed to have someone who recognizes that for his mama.

    1. Yes, we all have a purpose, and my prayer is that my son will come to understand his God-given purpose no matter how different he may feel from others.

    1. As a mom, you’re always worrying about your kids and hope they hit all the milestones. I guess those questionnaires, though helpful, can cause a mama to worry more,

    1. Aww, thank you! It’s not always easy because of the typical frustrations that any parent would go through. But it’s important for children to know that their parents are on their side.

    1. Yes, though there are many challenges that we face each day, my son is, without a doubt, a treasured gift from the Lord. Thank you for your comment, Rachael!

  4. So beautiful! As a doula I was just privileged to support a momma who had a baby with Downs Syndrome. He is such a sweet baby and has been a joy to this momma and her family, I can’t imagine all the little babies whose lives are sacrificed because their parents think they won’t be able to deal with it, or the child would have a bad life.
    Thank you for sharing part of your journey with us, I hope you find more answers for you soon but know that God will be with you in the waiting.

    1. I know someone who works with special needs kids, and she can testify that those kids that really thrive and grow are the ones that come from a strong and supportive family. I’m praying that has been and will continue to be my son’s experience. I really appreciate your words of encouragement!

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