I’ve asked another mom to write a guest post on what it’s like to parent a child with special needs. My friend Alicia has a son in the same school as Jesse, and we met at the beginning of the year. She has shown me the ropes, as it were, for support groups, community meetings on special needs, events, and overall made me feel welcome in a new school environment.
We’re both parents of children with special needs but it looks different for each of us because no two diagnosis are the same. My hope is to facilitate more stories like hers from other parents since this is a community that largely goes unnoticed. Maybe because someone doesn’t know what to say or how to help, or afraid they’ll say the wrong thing. Reading part of someone else’s story can help us relate to one another a little better. Maybe you or someone you know cares for a special needs child or adult. It’s helpful to know you aren’t alone and that others share similar stories.
It can be a sensitive topic- but more than that I think the special needs community appreciates compassion. Compassion to not feel like we or our children are less than, compassion to see us when it’s easier to avoid the uncomfortable. Here is a window view of what Alicia’s daily life is like with her son William.
Guest post by Alicia Lynch
My name is Alicia and I’m a mom to three wonderful kids. My oldest William has Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Intellectual Disability. He is 10. This is one of my stories about him. I have two other children Wyatt who is 7, and Annaliese who is 3.
Grooming is difficult for lots of children with Autism and other sensory disorders. But let me tell you, it’s a crazy task in our house. Back when William was a baby he hated his nails trimmed. Once I accidentally cut the tip of his finger and it bled. My mom guilt sat in! Is this why he hates his nails trimmed or is it his Autism? Or something else? Then you discover a ripped toenail and wonder when did that happen? Is that why he was upset?
When William was about 5, we would have to put on his favorite television show, while my husband held him and I trimmed his nails, or vice versa. We had to be quick. He hated it! But here we are today, at 10. And he is finally tolerating having his nails trimmed. Does he like it? No. Tolerate it? Yes. And that’s a WIN!
I write this to give others hope. Your child with sensory issues might deal with a simple grooming task at 10, 12, or hey, your child might handle it at 5. But there’s light at the end of this tunnel for us. When he was 3, I never imagined that we would be where we are now. Mamas, take a deep breath and keep on going. Because I swear to you, that was just yesterday. Now, haircuts, that’s a completely different story!
To those reading this who do not have children with special needs, I ask that you be kind and patient with us parents of special needs children. It’s simple things like trimming a child’s nails that will put you over the edge some days. It’s these little things that are not difficult but they add up. And special needs parenting is stressful enough.