Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dear parents of special needs kiddos

Dear parents of special needs kiddos, 

You just saw that picture of a child younger than yours achieving a milestone you dream of your child reaching.  Your heart is mixed, filled with excitement and joy for this special child but heavy for your own.  Your mind fills with a multitude of thoughts; the most prominent is the one where you begin to question your efforts as a parent.  You ask yourself, "Am I doing enough?" the doubt fogs your mind and you can no longer see clearly.

Let me reassure you, YOU are doing enough.

You are at home with your child wanting to help him/her improve, but you have no formal training in any specific therapy.  You question what you are doing and wonder if what you are doing is exactly what you were shown by his/her therapist.  You wish there were a class you could take to make you any and all types of therapists as soon as possible.  You ask yourself, "Am I doing enough?" the doubt fogs your mind and you can no longer see clearly.

Let me reassure you, YOU are doing enough.

You are not a trained medical professional yet you are required to become an expert in various domains.  You rely on neurologists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, nephrologists, orthopedists, GI doctors, etc. as guidance to make life-altering decisions for your child that YOU and YOUR family will be living the consequences of.  You ask yourself, "Am I doing enough?" the doubt fogs your mind and you can no longer see clearly.

Let me reassure you, YOU are doing enough.

You have other children or are pregnant with another child and you feel that they might be suffering because you can't be everything to everyone all the time.  You may have a significant other or a spouse and you wish you had more time to devote to their needs.  Your friendships are changing and you are left feeling alone.  You ask yourself, "Am I doing enough?" the doubt fogs your mind and you can no longer see clearly.

Let me reassure you, YOU are doing enough.

Your life is consumed with all things related to your special child.  You feel guilty.  You hardly sleep anymore.  You are merely a shell of your former self.  You don't remember the last time you went a day without saying the name of your child's diagnosis, if you know it, or his/her list of symptoms if you don't.  You ask yourself, "Am I doing enough?" the doubt fogs your mind and you can no longer see clearly.   

Let me reassure you, YOU are doing enough.  

It is because of YOU that your child is able to do the skills that he or she has already mastered.  It is because of YOU that your child will accomplish the goals you have only dreamed of him or her achieving.  It is YOU who works with your child hours on end when the therapists aren't around.  It is YOU who has mastered medical jargon you had no idea existed a short while ago.  It is YOU who are an exceptional parent, spouse, significant other, caregiver, and friend for being able to juggle all of the balls that have been thrown at you.  


There may be days along this journey that are dark and gloomy and fill your mind with doubts.  The clarity of your journey will not always be crystal clear in form.  However, take it from another special needs parent, No one is perfect, No one can do it better, and YOU my friend are doing enough. 


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