“Your child is so special, though.”
Special. Special. Special.
I loathe the word. This journey has done that to me. Definition of Special: “better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.” Basically that’s exactly what comes to my mind when I think of my Havey. She is all those things and so much more to me and everyone that loves her. Unfortunately that’s not what others hear. When they hear special needs they hear, damaged, less than, different, but not in a good way. When I say the words special needs or Autism out loud to someone the tension is instant. It’s like instant sadness. They don’t know what to say. Which is okay because most of the time I don’t either. It still hurts every time I say it out loud. The look I get back from others, the silence. It all hurts.
I remember the first time Haven was referred to as special needs. It was right after our appointment with the Autism Specialist, she had sent some referrals for Haven to local programs that could be helpful for us. ” Hi this is (insert name of the sweetest most helpful girl) from Family Voices. I am calling to let you know about the services we provide for your special needs child.” Special needs child? Who’s? Oh, Haven. MY special needs child, MY SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD.
It’s hard for me to think of Haven as special needs. She’s my baby, I dreamed of her and the life she would have long before I held her in my arms. Now our days are spent full of therapy, sensory diets, constant research, talk of IEPs, if she’ll be able to do all the things Mia has, and if we’ve gotten to the worst yet. The future scares me, the world we live in scares me, the constant dirty looks from strangers and others scares me. Not that those people scare me, I’d take them all on one by one and not blink an eye. My tongues sharp and I’m a mean momma bear when I have to be. But it scares me for my innocent 2 year old that has to face these people with no means of defending herself. That she has to face their god awful mean kids, who are unaware of how deep their words cut. It scares me for my sweet almost 5 year old that knows her sister is different and is already very aware of people reactions to her. I’m scared for the day any child or adult breaks my childs spirit. The lack of empathy, love, and compassion these days is unnerving.
One thing that has helped me though is something a momma in my support group said. She said she tries to think of her child not as special needs, but additional needs, different needs. I try to keep that in the back of my head, especially after the emotional days of therapy or doctors appointments that are chocked full of hard conversations and scary truths. Havens needs are more, Havens needs are different, that’s okay. She is not my special needs child. She is my different needs child. No two children are the same, they are all different. And I love both of my perfect, different children.
May God bless you & yours on your journey ! Thanks for sharing & trying to inform the troops- your girls are blessed to have you ♡♡♡