Realising that one has a child with special needs is one of the most heart-wrenching periods for any parent and knowing that the child may have to struggle to achieve some milestones that their peers would naturally grow with. For some, the symptoms are mild to medium and with the appropriate attention given, a lot can be achieved while some are so severe that some of these milestones are never completed.
The blind or partially blind, the deaf or partially deaf, the ones with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia are all conditions that require special needs. On a funny contrary, I have heard from a specialist that even the extra intelligent children (for instance one who at ten can answer questions at PhD level) can be said they have special needs as they would require special attention much more than their peers would.
The best therapy any child with special needs can get has Special Parents. Parent of kids with special needs make a lot of adjustments in their lives. For the blind child, everything in the home should always be in its place to prevent accidents. Also, a lot more is invested in educating that child to the fullest capacity. For the deaf, parents must learn to Communicate with the sign language while they spend heavily on tests, surgeries and hearing aids for the partially deaf. Some parent’s build ramps at their doorway so that wheelchairs can easily roll in, while for kids with neurological imbalances, some parents have to deal with total diet cleanse, making rounds of trips to the occupational therapist, speech therapist, give daily supplements, in-house therapies and not to forget the exorbitant costs and fees charged for these services. For those who can’t afford to pay for professional therapies, they have to leave some personal desires to find time to do it.
For these parents, every decision made is centered on their Children. More often we find mommies sacrificing their careers to do the running while daddy works for the pay. She carries the matter on her shoulders till she wonders if she can cope any longer. While some mom has to care for one child with needs, some others have to brace up to care for two, three or four children with various needs at once.
There are so many high and low times:
Imagine not being able to attend family occasions or even go on a vacation because they have to deal with their kid making a tantrum or wandering off (most of whom get missing as they can’t express themselves verbally) at a strange place to mention a few.
Imagine the super excitement produced when 7 year old calls out “mama” for the first time ever then also imagine the sadness if by the next day, can’t repeat it.
Imagine the joy when their child is celebrated as the best in a particular subject in school then imagine the pain that comes in when that child gets bullied by kids of his age because they appear to be different from them.
Imagine the happiness when a blind child can finally walk to school by himself then the sadness when he is brought home by a total stranger who finds him alone in a gutter.
Imagine a child that wants to dance but can’t because his legs won’t move or a deaf girl who can’t hear her name forever. Or a witty girl, a fast talker who finds it difficult to write words or solve a simple math equation. She isn’t dull; it’s really not her fault.
Imagine getting praised for having such a beautiful child and the sadness and rage that comes when that child is sexually molested over and over but can’t tell you because he/she lacks the inability to communicate with words.
Imagine a child with the world’s best smile but Can’t sit or use the toilet by himself even at the age of ten.
Imagine the strength it takes to keep silent and ignore negative comments from some friends and family let alone passersby who don’t understand why your perfect looking child but who is actually neuro-divergent isn’t spoilt..he just can’t process the noise that comes out from merely flushing the toilet and gets an anxiety/panic attack over it
Imagine the courage the mother pulls every day to be hopeful and build confidence in her child or children — these and many more and the joys and fear that these moms have to live with.
For these little beauties, life isn’t as simple as we live in it. Every day is a challenge that they must face and conquer, yet they always overcome. What they want most is to fit into this world, be loved and understood. They are indeed very strong and must be celebrated.
There is a strong need for people to be more emphatic towards children or adults living with special needs. They do not need pity but acceptance. They do not want to be silenced but encouraged to keep striving to be the best.
It would Interest you to know that Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Kiefer Sutherland (Series 24), Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Helen Keller, Halle Berry, Bill Clinton, Thomas Edison (light bulb), Beethoven, Cobhams Asuquo and a host of others are all adults with special needs; Most of whom started with their disability from childhood.
This is a call to every one out there to render their support, or better still keep silent rather than throw insults on a child who behaves weird or looks disapprovingly at their parent.
For every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, teacher, therapist/caregiver neighbour and friend who creates that extra time and support to lending a helping hand to make their lives better, many cheers to you for you are truly special.
Light it up blue. It would only get better and last forever