I found one common theme in the beautiful 30-year journey I have had so far with my daughter, and that is that all the best advice I ever received, was from other parents who have children with special needs.
There are so many others who may try to help, and I believe their intent is well-meaning; however, without walking this path it is impossible for others to truly know the full scope of what we live. Not just the trials, battles, and wounds, but most importantly the triumphs, joys, amazing relationships, and unconditional love.
It is my hope that this blog will help some of you new parents and caregivers just starting out on this journey. At the beginning of my journey, I would tend to lean on and live by the advice of doctors, teachers, friends, and relatives. While their advice was sometimes good, and helpful, I always felt something about it just didn’t feel complete.
Once my daughter started school, dance class, and Special Olympics, I met so many parents!
There were 5 of us that met weekly for coffee while our children were in dance class. At Special Olympics, there was much time for conversation while waiting and watching the games.
There is a different kind of connection that we have. It’s a natural understanding and compassion. There are a lot of areas for obtaining advice, and I suggest using all of them, I know I did. At the same time, I would seek out those who really knew what it was like to be in my shoes.
The best school teachers my daughter had were those who had their own children with special needs. All her teachers were great, I am grateful for all of them; however, there was just something different, and more at ease, with the teachers who were on the same journey.
There was a lot of advice that I received from other parents that I would have never known about if not for them.
This blog is not to talk about specific advice, because there is so much information and help we all need, but to let others know that other parents can be, and most often are, our best guides.
We can all use help to take care of our children with special needs. Some of us parents are single, and others have challenges that require help. I strongly suggest you get to know the other parents along this journey.
Some of them will stay and some will go, but all of them just might touch your heart and take some weight off your shoulders. Some of the other parents might become your best friends and confidants.
I understand what “It takes a tribe” means.
Life with our special needs children takes a tribe. God bless all of you wonderful parents and caregivers. I know this journey can be exhausting, but it can also be beautiful and heartwarming. The more help and guidance you have the more you can enjoy the heartwarming events.
Some of the simplest advice can make a major difference in our children’s lives. This photo is of my daughter with her weighted blanket. Another parent recommended and made this blanket. It made a big difference in her life when her moods elevated, or she just felt anxious.