To Those Who Reached Out to My Special Needs Child

Reaching Out to a Child with Special Needs

My child was just trying to make conversation, but clearly, the other kid just didn’t get him. “There’s something wrong with his brain,” I overheard him say to someone else.

At that moment, I wanted to cry but controlled it to spare myself from being the center of attention at a public place. I wanted to scoop up my child, put my arms around him, and shield him from any hurt, intentional or unintentional, that will come from this world.

But I know putting him in a protective bubble is not what’s best. As cruel as the world can sometimes be, there are people God has placed in my child’s path to reach out to him, and you are one of them. You may be thinking, “Me? What did I do?”


You greeted him.

A simple “hello” goes a long way. Far too many of us are preoccupied with our own world or the world being displayed on the tiny screen in our hands, that we fail to look up and notice the person right in front of us, who could use a simple smile to brighten his day.

You listened to him.

Not only did you say “hi”, but you asked the loaded question, “How are you?” Perhaps, you were not expecting a detailed catalog of all the Minions and their unique characteristics or a list of voice actors from The Lego Movie, but you looked at him and listened to it all.


You hugged him.

Touch is very important to him. I think it assures him of acceptance by you. Isolation is his fear, as is the case with many of us, so a handshake, a hug, or a high-five allow him to experience the human connection that any person seeks after.

You invited him.

He seemed content to be alone, but you went out of your way to invite him to sit with you. Honestly, social situations are still challenging for him, so he probably felt awkward about accepting the invitation. Nonetheless, you took a courageous step with a seemingly simple kind gesture.

You became his friend.

He doesn’t have very many friends. In fact, if you asked him who they are, he would list names of family members … brothers, sisters, cousins, mom, and dad. But you … he mentioned you. You became his friend.


Approaching someone who’s “different” can be intimidating. I understand that. After all, if you’re not crossing paths, why take the detour to intentionally go to that person? Why risk the potential awkwardness of the encounter? Would it even make a difference?

Yes, it does … it certainly does.


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22 thoughts on “To Those Who Reached Out to My Special Needs Child

  1. Awesome post, Ai! Little gestures do make a big difference. And especially in the lives of the special ones among us. You’re right – protective bubbles are not the answer. And I think healthy protection while letting go a bit more each day is one of the hardest parts of parenting. May the Lord give you special wisdom, especially with this special little one he’s given you.

  2. LOVED this post. It is soooo true!!! People don’t always realize the impact they have when they speak, engage, acknowledge a child, or when they don’t. Small gestures truly do go a long way. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. I love this list, especially because I am a special ed teacher and have such a soft place in my heart for kids with special needs. So glad to hear the ways he is being welcomed.

  4. ❤ I have a special needs brother and this list touched my heart! It's so wonderful when others welcome them in and love them as if they don't have their special needs!

  5. I recently wrote a blog post about my special needs grandson. He has autism and is nonverbal. I share your pain, what a beautiful post.

  6. What a beautiful post, Ai! This is a message so many of us need to hear. Just, “Hi” and warm genuine engagement goes so far for those with special needs, their parents, and the community around them ❤️

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