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Friday, 8 February 2013

Normal versus special needs.

Normal versus Special Needs Parenting

Over the years I have read lots of articles and postings regarding the difficulties for parents with a special needs child. Most of what you are about to read will never have entered your head if you are lucky enough to have a family of physical and mentally healthy children.

I do not know many of the parents who have contributed to the following but would like to thank them for raising awareness of the difficulties faced by a disabled family and hope they do not mind me using their life experiences along with mine. 

I would also like to point out in no way am I implying that ordinary parenting is an easy task. Not at all. I have one disabled/special needs child and two non disabled children. It is simply a comparison and possibly a need for you to understand our world, just a little bit.

1. Mum's rarely get calls from their child's teacher.
    Special needs mums expect  a call from the school every time the phone rings.

2.  Mum's love it when relatives wear out their children with play, thinking they'll sleep well that night.
     Special needs mums weigh the choices: Allow rough play that will keep their child up all night and set back
behaviour issues or disappoint well-meaning relatives who don't understand your child's disability.

3.  Mum's and Dads drop their kids off at birthday parties.
     Special needs Mum's and Dads can't seem to find the card  for their child that says, "You're invited."

4.  Mum's and Dad's put their children to bed and get a good night's sleep.
Special needs Parents monitor CPAP machines and masks, Apnoea monitors, suction tracheotomy tubes, oxygen tanks, reset pulse oximeter alarms and feed their children through feeding tubes through the night.

5. Mum's are asked to chaperone for school trips.
Special needs Mum's are required to be there just so their child can go on the  trip. 

6. Mum's know their child will eventually pick up reading in their own way.
Special needs Mum's must tackle reading skills with a sense of urgency and with all the research resources they can muster.

7. Mum's look forward to their children going off to college.
Special needs Mums do NOT look forward to deciding whether or not to put their children in state run, residential homes when they become adults.

8. Mum's stress levels raise from a 3 to a 10 if their child needs stitches or any minor surgery .
Special needs Mums' daily stress levels are already at an 8 so stitches or minor surgery can actually be a step down from the day to day stresses.

9. Mum's worry about spoiling their kids with too many toys.
Special needs Mum's will buy half the shop if there's a chance something will get their child stimulated.

10. Mum's hope they have enough food, goodies, etc. at their children's party.
Special needs Mum's hope that other children/adults will show up.

11. Mum's occasionally worry about one or two allergies.
Special needs Mum's have memorized the top 75 allergens, preservatives, chemical additives and toxins.

12. Mum's say, "I wish my child would stop growing!"
Special needs Mum's pray every night their failure to thrive child grows.

13. Mum's bring their kids to the doctor without any advance preparation.
Special needs Mum's have prepped their child all week with books and practice and repeated readings of how simple it is to have an injection.  They come in armed with favourite CDs and children’s books and it’s still a traumatic experience for both child and Mum.

14. Mum's are on a first name basis with other Mum's in their area.
Special needs Mum's are on a first name basis with their child's paediatrician  neurosurgeon, gastroenterologist, social worker and other specialists.
15. Mum's tell their child to get dressed.
Special needs Mums have to dress their child multiple times before leaving.

16. Mum's worry about their child being picked on in school.
Special needs Mums know their child will be discriminated against for their entire lives.

17. Mum's get annoyed when their child won't stop talking.
Special needs Mum's would do anything to hear their child utter one word, 'Mum'.

18. Dad's wrestle with their boys for play.
Special needs Dad's worry their child won't recognize when wrestling would be inappropriate and instead must teach them, "Keep your hands to yourself."

19. Mum's sign their kids up for all kinds of extra-curricular activities.
Special needs Mum's hope their local park district will accept their child for an activity.

20. Mum's can plan a simple holiday at the spur of the moment.
Special needs Mum's have to plan holidays months in advance to make sure that appropriate accommodations can be made for their child.

21. Mum's tell their teenager to stop hitting the snooze alarm button and get their butt to school.
Special needs Mum's hit their own snooze button a few times and then gently wake up their teenager and carry them to the toilet.

22 Mum's and Dad's think much of their work will be done when their children finish school or college.
Special needs Mum's and Dad's face the challenge of finding 50 more years of help for their children.

23. Mum's look forward to an "empty nest."
Special needs Mum's wonder who will take care of their kids after they're gone.

24. Mum's take their child's developmental milestones for granted.
Special needs Mum's realise what a miracle the human body is to be able to do what it does after spending hundreds of hours teaching our kids to roll over, crawl, walk, eat, play, etc. 

25. Mum's try to get their child toilet trained by preschool.
Special needs Mum's try to get their child toilet trained by Secondary school.

26. Mum's get to go on holidays during long weekends or when school is out.
Special needs Mum's holiday......well we KNOW we don't do that.

Jade, Lucy and Lily 2010

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