Every now and then, I have people who ask me if there is anything that we want them to know. So I made a list over the past several months and these are my top eight things.
- Stop apologizing.- It is not your fault that our children have special needs and there is no need for you to apologize. There is no need for you to tell me how sorry you are for this that and the other.
- Give us a break.- When you see us in public, it doesn’t mean that we always want to talk. We hear a lot of things and silence is not one of those things. So sometimes, just say hello. It goes a long way if you just acknowledge our presence.
- Sometimes it is great to say “I’m here if you need me.” and mean it.– We just need to hear this from time to time.
- Being a parent with a child with any difference is lonely.- Though we have friends, many of our friends have children that are special needs as well. It is lonely when all you talk about is how your child is progressing, regressing, or what new diet you are trying.
- We don’t have tons of money.– I bet you read that one and say that no one has tons of money. You would be correct, but are you aware that mom’s with children with autism earn 56% less than others according to CBS News. Now add in the Great Recession. So inviting us out sometimes for things that require money, might not happen.
- Asking if you need help makes us feel less alone.– Even if we say that we don’t need help, it’s the thought that counts.
- Saying that “You’re a mother (father), we don’t get a break” is a slap in the face.- Families with children with special needs where they are the sole caregiver is taxing and draining. Every caregiver gets a moment where their children are not with them whether it be date night or what have you. Imagine not being able to afford a sitter, have family support, or not being able to get out for the monthly lunch with the girls? Imagine sleeping one or two hours a night because your child wanders and you are afraid of them getting out of the house. You’re right, parent’s don’t get a break, but caregivers need one once in a while.
- Our time is precious– Time in our households is a precious commodity that we do not waste. If you plan something, make sure that you make it on time. Keep in mind the therapies, the homework, the skin checks, baths, and etc that parents like myself have to work into our day plus work and school, and bathing, and eating. We have limited time during the day for the unexpected let alone, the flakes that plan and don’t follow through.
To some this may seem trivial. Yes, we have struggles in every family, but look at your family breakdown and imagine that one of your children was dyslexic, has an autism diagnosis, or just has trouble with comprehension. It adds more to the weight of what you feel. These are my top eight things! Do you have one that’s not on the list?