An Open Letter to Special Needs Parents
Dear Special Needs Parents,
We see you...
We see that you are tired.
We see that you are juggling a family, a job, appointments, therapy, keeping a household together. We see that you haven’t had a minute for yourself in a long time.
Sometimes you have support. Oftentimes…you don’t.
We see you putting on a brave face and choking back tears through tough IEP meetings.
We see your face light up when your child says their first word or blows a kiss for the first time after weeks of practice.
We see you trying to explain to your other children why their sibling needs a little extra help, and sometimes that means a little extra attention.
We see you dodging glances at the grocery store when your child has a meltdown on the floor in aisle 5.
We see you sitting outside the restaurant comforting your crying child while the rest of your family eats inside - because your iPad isn’t working, and the mac and cheese was white instead of orange.
We hear you when you want to vent...and when you haven’t had an adult to talk to in days, or even weeks.
We know that you don’t want to give in and buy the toy when your child throws a tantrum, but that sometimes, you’re too tired to wait them out.
We know that you understand that your son is doing “that” for attention, but that hearing him cry pulls at your heartstrings more than we can ever understand.
We know it can sting a little bit when other parents boast about their child’s milestones and accomplishments and wonder if your child will get there too.
We see that it’s hard. We can’t possibly understand, but we see you.
We hope you know that we go home and read new research and think about new strategies for your child in our spare time.
We hope you know that we always take a pitstop in the toy aisle when we’re running our errands, just to look for toys that might help motivate your kiddo.
We want you to know that we research: “where do water buffalos live” and “types of bovine” so that your animal loving child will be excited when they inevitably quiz us in the future.
We stay neutral and don’t give in to knock-down blow-out tantrums during sessions because we have to, but we see the tears in your eyes and we cry as soon as we get in our cars, too. It’s not easy for us to see your child upset.
We don’t mind getting hit, spit on, or kicked during an extinction burst, because that means we figured it out – and it’s working!
We take our work home. We write insurance reports at night to make sure your child doesn’t miss any sessions. We update programs and train new therapists while we eat our lunch in our cars.
We know that you can’t always follow through with our feedback. You have so much on your plate. We wish we could help more.