Having empathy helps us understand how a child with special needs works, but me having special needs was never something I equated in myself, because that part of my life was never afforded to me.
And although any parent dealing with a child who has special needs finds dealing with their child taxing, there are definite rewards having a special needs child. They show us a different understanding of our life and what’s important. It’s a world we must learn to embrace. There is no right or wrong, it’s more instinctive.
We must want to care and help our child meet their own needs. I think the biggest hurdle for any child with special needs is the outside world. The world isn’t always kind. A child with special needs, need us to be their advocate. We must be their voice in a world that’s already confusing, but even more so for what they deal with.
As parents, we become expert at knowing what that child needs. Qualities must include listening, empathy, patience and tolerance too. A child with special needs, relies on us to help and support them emotionally, even when they don’t always know what that is.
And in times where the help and support we give may seem futile, it’s never as futile as we think. It simply makes a difference to a good or a bad day. Children want to be loved unconditionally, above and beyond their other needs and no matter what their struggles are. That’s not just about special needs.
We must make time to play with children to want to make them feel special. From my own experience, never having emotional support that is what a child craves for the most. Just allowing me to know my diagnosis would have been a good place to start.