My worst fear used to be having a SN child. I remember praying each time I was PG and telling God/The Universe that if I had to have a SN child I could handle him/her having a physical disability, but I couldn't handle a child who had "mental challenges" (for lack of a better word.) My absolute WORST fear was having a child with (God forbid!!!) AUTISM! I didn't want a child I couldn't relate to, who wouldn't care about me or let me touch him/her, who would sit in a corner staring at the wall while rocking.
When I first realized my DS2 had autism I cried and laughed at the same time, thinking what a COSMIC joke this is!! I said I could handle anything but autism, and what did I get?
But you know what? I CAN "handle autism"! It's not the horrible death sentence I thought it would be. DS2 is extremely loving and affectionate. He loves giving me kisses and being tickled. He loves going on walks with his older brother and Daddy. And guess what? He has eye contact! Sure, not ALL the time, but yes, he looks me in the eyes. He loves music and art and numbers. He loves Yo Gabba Gabba. He can be a challenge, I won't lie, but he brings me so much joy. And yeah, he sits and rocks sometimes, usually when he's upset and he's trying to calm himself. It's not horrible, it's what he needs to do, you know? *shrug*
"Before autism" I used to pity parents of SN kids. They made me feel uncomfortable and fearful. I used to think about how awful their lives must be...now I know how SO NOT true that is!
I know what it means to not want your child labeled b/c they are different. I know what it means to hate the words "normal" and "abnormal". I know what it feels like to hate being pitied by others. I now know what SN parents meant when they said their SN kids were "smarter" than people think- I used to think they were in total denial...now I know they were telling the truth.
I'm no longer fearful or feel uncomfortable around children (or adults) with SN. I see these kids for what they REALLY are, their inner AND outer beauty. I no longer pity them or their parents, I think how lucky their parents are to have such adorable beautiful children.
Having a SN child has changed me forever, and for the better. I didn't ask for this, but I know why I was chosen. I want to say thank you to my beautiful, special, unique son who has made me a better person. I you!!!!!!!!!!!! God bless all of our SN kids, they are amazing and teach us more than we could ever teach them.
How has having a SN child changed YOU??? :)
Mommy to beauties DS1 (7), DS2 (4, autism), & DS3 (2)
and many angel babies
I am still growing. My daughter is deaf, and i know I can handle that. What I still struggle with is the barriers that she will have when she is grown. The OTHER people. She is smart and capable, but OTHERS will think she is stupid because she doesn't hear like them. That is what I fear now.
I have become an advocate. I seek other other parents and try to help them understand their child and give them the knowledge that they have rights, their child has rights, and that their child can reach the stars if they give them all the tools they need.
Having a child with behavioural issues that go beyond just "looking bad" to actually hurting other people, well that has been a major challenge. What I have learned from my autistic son is a huge lesson in NOT BEING JUDGEMENTAL.
I used to judge people by their behaviours, especially kids. I used to think that any kid who wasn't sunshine and roses was spoilt or had crappy parents. I recall one kid raised by some family friends who lived far away (so we didn't see them much) was the butt of so many comments and judgements because he was "spoilt rotten" and it was all his mothers doing - I heard this growing up, constant gossip about his bad behaviour. After my family started learning about autism they realized that this boy was probably autistic and it turns out he was/is.
Because of my son's issues and my lack of understanding of what caused them (despite seeking help) I have been judged a bad mother, I've been yelled at, I've had my son yelled at by strangers, and I've lost friends. All of this has taught me now that, when I see a child (or even an adult) acting in a way that makes me uncomfortable, I don't judge. I assume they have some issues and I feel sympathy for them.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
My sweet boy has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I've learned a level of patience I've never known I could have. I agree about judgment - I too used to judge situations based on surface observations but now I try to come at things from a place of compassion vs. judgment. He's taught me to find joy in the smallest and simplest things. He's taught me to advocate (a gift originally bestowed by my late father and perfected through my son) for him and our families' needs. He's taught me humility. He's taught me that special needs means simply that someone learns differently (and usually in more interesting ways too!). He's taught me that learning different doesn't mean a lack of intelligence. He's taught me about the human body and the human experience. Through my son I've learned about ADHD, APD, SPD, and genetics. I have a medical degree without ever stepping foot in a university.
JFTB - when we were in the process of adopting our son our social worker asked us "would you consider a child with special needs?" We both said no. She reminded us that some things are not known till a child is older and we said we understood. Man plans, Gd laughs :)
I have gained a whole new understanding of the point behind inclusive schooling and about the need for schools to be a welcoming place for all children, offering challenge to kids in the areas they can handle it and offering services in the area in which kids them need in in order to learn, doing all of this according to the individual needs of the individual kid as opposed to saying "we are a school precisely for this sort of kid and all the others go away". I understand about problems of scale and problems of finances and see the need for some kind of clustering in order to solve theses problems (eg have a gifted magnet school or a school which offers primarily speech therapy or whatever), but I have gained a whole new attitude and wish schools in my area would follow suit.