To the Mom of the Child with Special Needs – Part 1

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I never thought I would be on this road, being a mother of a child with special needs. A road is probably not the most accurate description because, often, it feels like a roller coaster. Nonetheless, this path that God has put me on has come with many blessed lessons.

If you are a parent, who has just received the news that your child has and will continue to have some specific, special needs, you may feel as though you’re caught in the rapids, trying to stay afloat, while the raging waters of information from doctors, therapists, specialists, and educators surround you and threaten to engulf you. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be in despair.

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Don’t Compare with Others

Ah, the comparison trap! We all do it, whether or not we have a child with special needs. This is especially detrimental for the mom with the special needs kid. “Special needs” implies they are on a completely different page from most kids their age, so comparing is an exercise in futility.

I used to always feel like I needed to get my child “caught up” and felt discouraged at the thought that he will always be “behind”. But caught up to what? Behind in what? Whose standards anyway? Is it in education? Motor skills? Social skills? It was stressful.

Your child’s milestones will be different from his peers and from his own siblings. An unhealthy preoccupation with the progress of others will keep you from focusing on your own child’s development.

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Rejoice in the progress (no matter how small)

Sometimes it may feel like there’s no progress at all. It takes a bit of stepping outside of yourself and seeing your child from another vantage point to notice that there are changes. Perhaps recording them in a journal will help you see them and be intentional about searching for them. Don’t limit yourself to the great leaps and bounds. Progress is often seen in the small baby steps. Remember being overjoyed when your baby took his first steps. That doesn’t have to stop now.

Be Your Child’s Special Friend

Making friends will likely not come easy for your child, especially as he gets older. I have wept over my own child’s lack of friends and wept even more when I noticed he matured enough to notice this too. Party invitations will be rare, and play dates will be a challenge to arrange.

I remember that at his own birthday party, my kid pulled me into one of the rooms away from all the guests, closed the door, and asked if we could play “I Spy” together. As much as I wanted him to be comfortable with everyone else, I was the one he really wanted to be with. I was his special friend.

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In some of my most desperate moments, I remember googling things like “I don’t know what to do about my special needs child” or “feeling alone being a special needs mom”. I know I wasn’t necessarily going to get answers and solutions. In reality, I just didn’t want to feel alone. There are others out there going through this right now. If you know someone who could be encouraged by this, please share this post with them. And even beyond that, be their friend.

(Part 2 of this post will be coming soon.)

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25 thoughts on “To the Mom of the Child with Special Needs – Part 1

  1. I love this. It really touched my heart. My son has some physical limitations, and its so hard, and he isnt even special needs. I cant imagine how hard your journey must be. But it sounds like God gave your son the exact Mama he needs. He is blessed, and so are you ❤

  2. Great post. I have a couple of friends who have children with special needs and it takes a special parent to deal with this! Patience is a virtue and I am sure it takes all of the patience in the world to be the best parent that you are! You are the world to your child – special needs or not! Keep strong!

    1. Yes, definitely a lot of patience … for any parent! But I do believe that those who have children with special needs need an extra measure of patience … and friends that are there to support them in their challenges are a real blessing. Glad you can be there for your friends!

  3. This is so true! And the comparison issues works both ways – don’t be too relieved that your child is not where some other kids are! They are all beautiful works of art that God has blessed us with, and ALL children have a purpose – even if it’s only to draw Mom & Dad closer to God. I feel so blessed with my kids even when their challenges are difficult, God always steps in to help me be there for them.

  4. I can tell your an amazing woman and mom just by reading this post. You a positive outlook on life that is refreshing and shows your relationship with God. I’m a social worker and work with people who have special needs and know that the job of a special needs child can be tedious. Good luck to you and your beautiful family.

  5. Oh my goodness! This: “you may feel as though you’re caught in the rapids, trying to stay afloat, while the raging waters of information from doctors, therapists, specialists, and educators surround you and threaten to engulf you” describes the emotionally overwhelming process of diagnosis so well. I will never forget that feeling, but I’m so glad to have finally gotten the right information to get my child the necessary services/therapies/oh-my-gosh-we-need-that-too?-stuff. Hang on Momma. Your sweet child may not seem to appreciate all of your effort right now, but know that it is all worth it in the end.

    1. Yes, I was most certainly drained during the first few years of this process. We also didn’t have a complete diagnosis in the beginning. Call it parental instinct, but there was always a nagging feeling that there was something else going on with my child. He’s older now, and we finally have a more accurate diagnosis that I hope will give us clearer direction. Thank you for sharing about your journey!

  6. I love this post. You have so many great points. I especially love the part about being your childs’ special friend… I look forward to the next post. 🙂

  7. Beautiful! As a special needs mom, I could not agree more with each and every one of these points. Letting go of the need to catch up and celebrate her where she was at made such a huge difference in my life. God bless you on your journey!

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