Benefits of Massage for Children with Special Needs

Are they hyperactive or do they suffer from high or low body tone?

Have you ever tried a simple foot or body massage on your little live-wire to relax them? Let me share with you some beneficial effects of massage on the body.

I’ve found massage to be a lovely bonding experience with my children, using a simple massage lotion or any plain body cream I have to hand.

I also love my essential oils, for instance I use pure lavender oil diluted with a carrier of coconut oil (and many other homemade concoctions!)

Massage is SO therapeutic and relaxing.

Why- because science has shown that even a few gentle strokes causes the brain to release endorphins (the body’s natural opiates, to give a ‘high’ feeling) as well as the production of oxytocin, which gives us a nurturing and loving feeling.

Interestingly enough, both the recipient, and the giver of the massage will experience a release of oxytocin!

I’m going to briefly outline a few of the body’s systems and the positive effects massage can have:

Muscular skeletal system- Increase flexibility, improve muscle tone, reduce cramps, improve posture, and improve mobility and range of movement.

The benefits of massaging muscles can be described as the 3‘t’s: releasing tightness, tension and toxins.

Digestive system- Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to switch digestion back on (opposite of ‘stress response’) and speeds up elimination of waste products from body- alleviating constipation.

Endocrine system- Counteracts the negative effects of adrenaline, bringing body back to a state of homeostasis and balancing the hormones, the release of endorphins and oxytocin as previously mentioned which gives us a positive high feeling.

Respiratory system- Encourages deeper breathing by relaxing the body, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and improving posture, and improves gaseous exchange throughout the body.

Lymphatic system- Assists with the drainage of lymph from the cells, improving removal of toxins from our bodies, boosts immunity as it stimulates production of lymphocytes (antibodies), reduces oedema (swelling).

Pain control- Can mask pain by giving a pleasurable massage as these positive nerve messages travel quicker than painful ones (pain gate control theory).

By reducing pain and increasing feelings of general well-being and relaxation, you can encourage more restful sleeping.

Psychological – Gives us a feeling of wellbeing, a lovely bonding experience between parent and child, allows us to ‘switch off’ unwind and be at peace, calming the mind and body, preparing body for a deeper night’s sleep

I really encourage you to look at doing a simple foot massage before bedtime or during the ‘afternoon slump’ to relax and calm your little one.

There are many online and local courses in baby and all sorts of massage available, too.

You won’t regret any time spent in massage once you see the many benefits first-hand!

Special Needs Parents: Loneliness

Phone calls to multiple providers for our son. Running our older son to school and then driving directly to daily therapy appointments for his younger brother.

Emails to catch up on and more phone calls to insurance, medical supply companies, and the county.

I am constantly working on home therapy with our son or I am busy catching up on housework that has been put off for far too long.

I have friends although my social life is fairly non-existent; and I’m sure that’s partly my problem. But at the end of a long day I’m exhausted and the last thing I want to do is leave my house.

We are running here to there all day long, phone calls, interacting with therapists, but yet I am lonely. I talk to many people, text girlfriends, and keep up with friends on social media.

So, no, I am not sitting alone in my house all day completely isolated from the outside world. But, yes, I am lonely. This isn’t fixable by nights out with friends or a vacation away.

The loneliness of a special needs mother is a different kind of loneliness.

It’s lonely with worry. Is the next illness going to send our son to the hospital, or worse, will we lose him forever?

Are we doing the right thing? Are we doing the wrong thing? Will our son ever walk… or talk? The worry is constant and never goes away – alone or in a room full of people. It never leaves.

It’s lonely with guilt. Should I have done more? Am I doing too much? Did I lose my temper on our older son today when my patience was running thin after a night of no sleep?

Is he going to grow up and think all we did was care for his little brother? Will he resent us? Do our boys know just how much we love them?

It’s lonely with thoughts of the future. Every year that passes is another year that we have had the ability to care for our son, but there may come a day when we no longer can.

Instead of thinking of his college days, marriage, or fatherhood I am thinking of making our home accessible and pushing away thoughts of the possibility of placing him in a care facility. Our future will always include caring for him.

It’s loneliness with all of the should haves, would haves, and could haves. It’s loneliness with far too many what ifs? It’s knowing countless of other mothers are in similar shoes, but yet you are still alone.

We are a tribe of mothers who are warriors for our children. Lonely, exhausted, but strong. And I know this journey is a tough one, but as lonely as we may feel we are all in this together. Alone, together.

If part of this journey included loneliness, I willingly accept it. The thoughts of worry, guilt, and the future will always linger – but the joy, pride, and love will trump them all. Always.

Special Needs Families: Getting ready for Ewok

We were all really excited to see him again. The last time we had seen him was in May, for Sebastian’s birthday; he came for a visit with his trainer.

Sebastian was the only one of us allowed to interact with Ewok. It was difficult not to say hi, look at him, and even ignore him when he came up to say hello. But it is important that Ewok creates a bond with Sebastian.

As Sebastian is in a wheelchair in which he cannot move independently, Ewok has to go up to him. We have to hang back and allow that bond to happen and reinforce it with praise.

I wasn’t sure whether Sebastian’s five year old sister would be able to hang back like his dad and I, so she went to the park while we followed behind Sebastian, Ewok, and his trainer on a walk around the block.

I teared up seeing Ewok at Sebastian’s side; greeting him with kisses, and Sebastian’s wide smile. For his sister, it’s easy to interact with Ewok; she can embrace him, pet him, and even speak to him.

When we started this journey towards a service dog for Sebastian, I have to admit, I didn’t think about how it would fully affect the rest of our family.

My focus was on Sebastian and how having a service dog would enrich his life. I thought about the amazing bond he would have with a dog, a furry best friend by his side, all the time.

I thought that perhaps someday his dog would be able to notify us if he’s having a seizure or bark to get help if Sebastian needs it.

I set my eye on a goal for Sebastian and I am dedicated in achieving those goals.

Fast forward to our first training session with Ewok; we started with hand signs and verbal commands; sit, down, stay, ok (release), come, and heel.

Ewok must be able to respond to our commands every time. His leash will be attached to Sebastian’s wheelchair; we must tell him what to do when we stop to chat with someone, or wait at a crosswalk to cross the street.

He has to stay next to Sebastian and never get excited enough to run, as he’s large enough that he could take Sebastian and his chair down.

He’s already doing a phenomenal job with the trainer and now the baton is being passed to us.

Once we learn how to command Ewok and he responds consistently to our commands, we can train with Sebastian and then bring Ewok home.

I’m excited about the new dynamic having a service dog for Sebastian will create for our family. After our session we talked a lot about Ewok coming to home to live with us.

We talked about him being Sebastian’s working dog. How we can’t cuddle with him or get him too excited because he always has to be ready to follow commands.

He won’t be climbing up onto the couch to watch TV with us or cuddle with anyone other than Sebastian.

We plan to get a really big floor pillow so that Sebastian can cuddle with Ewok, or relax on the floor next to his wheelchair.

Ewok can hang out with Sebastian in another room while I’m making dinner. If his sister leaves the room, Seb won’t be left behind on his own.

Sebastian is excited that Ewok will have his own special bed in his bedroom.

Sebastian couldn’t wait to tell his friends at school about our first training session and his visit with Ewok.

I printed a photo of them together for him to take to school. His sister asked for a photo of Ewok, ‘because I love Ewok too.’

‘You know that he is Sebastian’s dog and he will be a working dog so you won’t be able to cuddle with him, right?’ I mentioned again.

‘Yes, mom, you told me that already. I understand,’ she replied firmly. And I know that she does.

I have conflicting emotions. I’m giving my son the opportunity to have the bond of a lifetime with Ewok, and yet also keeping his sister from creating the same bond.

As parents we want to do the best for our kids. We often struggle with feelings of inadequacy about whether we are doing something right or making the right decisions.

My husband reminds me of the things that don’t come easily for Sebastian, like friendship and playing on the playground. Of course I know this.

Sebastian will be able to take Ewok for a walk, while his sister hangs from the monkey bars or makes new friends, easily. Research tells us that kids with disabilities struggle to build meaningful friendships.

I look forward to seeing Ewok (hopefully) make that part of childhood easier for Sebastian. I hope that he will not only be Sebastian’s buddy, but help break down barriers that disability often creates.

Ewok will become a part of our family. But he will never be the focus of our family.

We will never treat him as the centre of attention. He will be Sebastian’s buddy and Sebastian will learn to count on him to be by his side.

Ewok will calm Sebastian and be his #1 buddy. Having Ewok will not only enrich Sebastian’s life, but in doing so, enrich ours.

Disability Assistance Dogs

I had seen an awesome video of a little girl with cerebral palsy on one of the charities websites, she was using a ‘mobility assistance’ doggy with a harness to hold onto whilst walking. I thought, my goodness!

How wonderful would this be for my Brielle who also has cerebral palsy, and uses a walker but can walk hand-held?

Having a canine-friend and mobility partner would open up so many opportunities for her- independence, confidence, peer-integration, companionship!

It would be fantastic if we could get a dog trained not only to wear a harness but serve as a guide dog, too. Brielle is also severely visually impaired.

I was left quite deflated after sending emails, online messages and making phone calls to all the charities- we were either living in the wrong region, or there was currently such a high demand for these dogs, that we weren’t even able to go onto a waiting list!

I’ve mentioned to our social worker and also Brielle’s mobility specialist so they’ve said they’ll look into it, too.

Why is it that support and disability assistance is SO hard to come by? I think part of the issue is that there’s no funding.

So many of these charities are relying on generous donations to fund their services. The government really don’t put any priority on equal access or equality for people with disabilities.

The people in power reckon that there are all these charities to fill the HUGE gap in resources and equipment that children with special needs, need. Leave them to it!

It’s really easy to get overwhelmed and disheartened as a parent, and feel as if you’re an island, as if no one knows what you’re dealing with, and no one cares. I’ve been there MANY times!

We need to rally together and support each other during these times. And find friends and professionals who really do care!

If no charities are able to train and fund an assistance dog, as a family we may look at finding someone to train a dog privately. But I have NO idea how to go about this, either!

I would be so grateful if anyone reading this has any experience or advice regarding finding/training/funding a disability or mobility assistance dog.

I’d really love to hear your success stories, too.

Special Needs Parenting: Two Kids, Two Schools

She’s attending senior kindergarten this year at our neighborhood school, which for us is directly across the street.

It would be her first time at school so we were all very excited, especially her big brother Sebastian. He’s going into Grade 4, so he knows how much fun school can be.

The school has an elevator, so Sebastian was looking forward to enjoying the tour too.

It took us up all three levels of the school to a view of the CN Tower and the downtown skyline, visible from one of the hallways.

It seemed quite spectacular for the other little boy on the tour, new to our neighborhood. I’m one of those moms that wants a tour so I know where my kid is going to spend her days.

I also want my daughter to feel comfortable and ready for goodbyes on day one, knowing where she would be going once inside the building with her new teacher and peers.

Tallula’s kindergarten classroom is on the main floor, but there are steps down to both the gym and the music classroom. Therefore, despite having an elevator, the school is not fully accessible.

Aside from the lack of accessibility, it also has no nursing or the additional academic supports and support staff that Sebastian needs for his epilepsy medications and g-tube feeds, so he cannot attend our neighborhood school with his sister.

He cannot be the big brother on campus for her to say hi to on the playground. He can’t come home for lunch like his sister can either. His presence is absent, as are any children with wheelchairs or other physical accommodations.

I believe that a part of Tallula’s own identity, that of a sibling of a child with a disability, will also become something that is not a part of her learning experience at school. Yet it makes up a big part of who she is.

Her peers won’t have the experience of knowing someone with a physical disability at school either. I often wonder how this will affect her relationships with them as well as her brother over time.

We have lived in this neighborhood for four years; I have visited several schools in the city we live in, hoping to find a school that could accommodate both of my children, even if it meant moving to a new neighborhood.

I so badly want them to go the same school. Sebastian goes to a school a bus ride away, in a congregated setting for kids with disabilities and medical needs.

I strongly believe in and advocate for inclusion; without it, how will society change?

But over the past two years I have had to come to terms that inclusion in our school district is not possible on the level that Sebastian needs.

Most schools, like our neighborhood school, cannot provide the kind of care, or accessibility, his school can provide for him. Sebastian’s school has a phenomenal music program and a pool, which are both really important for him.

The other schools I had visited, which could potentially accommodate both of my children, had neither.

After we toured Tallula’s new school and discovered that they have a music and drama program, and even met the drama/dance teacher, I was really excited for her year ahead.

I thought, “This is going to work. Both of my kids are going to get what they need to thrive at school, even if it’s not at the same school.”

I felt that I would be ok with my kids going to different schools because I really believe that the programs at each one support my kids in the ways they need and that will help them grow.

I have had to accept that life doesn’t always coincide with my educational philosophy or what I had imagined for my family.

But later that afternoon I received Sebastian’s bus pick-up and drop-off times – which would add an hour each way to his school day – suddenly I felt deflated rather than hopeful.

The sense of discrimination we often deal with in all facets of our daily lives, crept slowly back in, determined to sour the first days of school.

Special Needs Campaigns: Changing Places

Did you know that there are 13.3 million disabled people in the UK?  Or that 7% of all British children have a disability? Did you imagine that 44% of pensioners would be disabled?

That’s a lot of people isn’t it.  All with diverse types of disabilities, all affected in different ways.

Some might have sight loss, others may be wheelchair users.  There are people who have been disabled since birth, others who have acquired a disability because of an accident or illness.

Some people may have a disability which remains the same throughout their life whereas others may have conditions which worsen over time.

You wouldn’t be able to put all these people into the same category of disability because all of them would experience different things with their different conditions.

We wouldn’t expect them to all use the same type of wheelchair.  We wouldn’t expect them to all have the same adaptions in their homes.

We wouldn’t expect them to all deal with their disability in the same way.

So why would we expect them to all be able to use the same toilet simply because we slap a disabled/accessible sticker on the door?

Why would we assume that by simply adding some grab rails all of those people, with such wide-ranging conditions, would be able to use that facility?

I know that unless you are affected by disability, whether directly or indirectly, it probably doesn’t even occur to you that the so called “accessible” toilet isn’t actually accessible to all 13.3 million disabled people it is there for.

But if it were pointed out to you and you were in a position to make a change, would you?

I’m sure I would.

I know some businesses, such as Ikea, have and are making changes to ensure they provide better toilet facilities for disabled customers.

But why aren’t more businesses realising the impact their poor facilities are having on customers?

If it were pointed out to you that disabled children were having to lay on your toilet floor to have their nappies changed would you make sure you did something to stop that?

If you heard that a disabled person couldn’t use your toilet because they couldn’t get out of their wheelchair would you be disgusted by the thought that they had to sit in their own mess because you had failed to provide them with a hoist?

I would. And I would expect businesses like Tesco, Marks and Spencers and Cineworld to feel the same.

But I don’t think they do.

I don’t think they care that this is the reality for hundreds of thousands of people who visit their stores.

I’ve told them and many campaigners just like me that not all 13.3million disabled customers can use their toilets.  But it feels like they’re not listening.

If there was a risk of 13.3million potential customers not being able to get to a check-out, or use their credit card, would they make changes immediately to ensure they didn’t lose money?

I’m sure they wouldn’t tell a single person there is a check-out they can use elsewhere, they wouldn’t consider sending them to another business to spend their cash, so why send people elsewhere to spend a penny?

These big businesses are failing to recognise that by not upgrading their disabled toilet facilities, they are losing money every single day.

Because families like mine can’t spend time, and therefore money, anywhere that doesn’t provide a toilet for our disabled family members.

Businesses should realise that if they upgrade their toilet facilities to ensure that they include a hoist, changing bench, plenty of space and all the other requirements of a changing places style toilet, they could be providing facilities for all disabled guests.

Because whilst one size does not fit all when it comes to disability, if you cater for the most disabled you are already catering for the least disabled.

Some businesses have already seen the positive effect that providing fully accessible toilet facilities.

Cornwall Services opened a space to change facility last year and have seen their facility used up to 40 times a day!

Ikea understand the need for these facilities and are currently installing them in most of their stores with the rest to follow.

I really hope that at some point soon other big UK businesses will catch up and realise the importance of these facilities, not just to those who need to use them, but also to their bottom line.

Special Needs Parents: When Life Keeps Reminding You That You’re Different

I opened it… I always do… almost like a morbid fascination. You see, this particular site and various others have the ability to send me from a good mood to feeling alienated in the click of a button.

The email began “Now that your little one has outgrown the need to be carried, check out our quick guide for parenting essentials you’ll need for your munchkin on the move”

I am sure if you have a non-mobile child you’d read that line and have a similar reaction to mine.

My child is not “on the move” nor has she “outgrown the need to be carried”, also please do not refer to her as a “munchkin” (though I did google the term munchkin and it does actually mean child)

I hate these “milestone” based emails. These sites think they’ve personalised the email to cater to exactly who they expect your child to be. I get them from baby formula companies, nappy brands and all sorts.

There was a time a couple of years ago when these emails would cut deep, further reminding me of how differently my parenting journey had deviated from what is deemed as “normal”.

I would read the email through curiosity and almost a naive hope that some of the milestones mentioned would match my child. They never did.

Imagine having a 6 month old child whose nutrition relies purely on artificial means i.e. a nasal gastric tube and being bombarded with constant emails about how to wean your child from breast and bottle feeds.

It made me feel like I had failed at one of the main things expected of a parent – to nourish your child, naturally.

Sure, I expressed breast milk for as long as my body would let me. But seeing this emails almost invalidated my efforts.

These days I very much stick to the ethos that “fed is best”. It’s true. Some of us need a little extra help to gain weight and nutrition, and however you do that for your child is the right way. End of.

I don’t need reminding that had my child been able bodied she would not need to be carried. In fact we are at that awkward point in this journey where she can be lifted and carried but definitely not with ease.

We are approaching the time of needing to hoist, and this is a tough pill to swallow.

In my disappointment at this email I posted on Facebook to register my hatred of these emails. It surprised me how many fellow special needs parents related to what I put.

Most of them said they unsubscribed from these emails, or just deleted them or didn’t read them. Most agreed that yes, it can be painful seeing those emails.

I do not for one second expect these companies to consider that the families they are emailing may not relate to a word of what they are saying.

They might not want to look at your exciting new range of toys that require fine motor skills, independent imaginary play and so on. To them, we probably don’t exist.

They will see me in their store, looking at toys for my daughter that are way below the “recommended age” i.e. 0-6 months.

I will look at these toys thinking of tactile play, visual stimulation, improving gross motor skills. When I shop, it is with a different agenda to most parents of a child the same age as mine.

Recently I amused myself in a bargain store. My shopping list was: A small laundry bag so I can wash g-tube pads without losing them.

A large cosmetics bag or lunch box to store medicines for respite visits, and drawing pins so I can pin string to Amy’s wall so I can adequately display her bibs so I don’t have to root through drawers for certain ones.

It’s amazing how our lives adapt and what we end up seeking out for our children. I see the world completely differently now.

I find myself in toy shops skimming over all of the toys I know aren’t appropriate. I hate that I have to ignore those toys.

In spite of my angry ramblings, I sometimes find joy that we are in our own little secret world.

I love discovering a new bag that will fit meds in perfectly, I love when I find a new toy by our favourite brands and I can tell that Amy will be able to activate it by herself.

I take a huge delight in empowering her many skills.

I remember when Amy first got her diagnosis of cerebral palsy. I was told to celebrate every single achievement.

I was also told “inchstones not milestones” or to overlook milestones completely. She actually has many behaviours that I would deem age appropriate but to me this isn’t important.

Helping her to communicate in her own way, giving her as much independence as we can, making sure we minimise any potential painful interventions, and most importantly ENJOYING LIFE are the main goals and in itself a huge challenge.

We don’t go to the park to try her riding a bike…  we research special needs bikes and are planning a trip to a local disability friendly biking session.

We don’t walk down the street hand in hand whilst I teach her how to safely cross the road – I walk behind her, pushing her chair, singing to her her favourite songs and smiling to myself when she lets out a joyous cheer.

We don’t go to a cafe and have hot chocolates together – I sit with my extra-large supercharged Americano whilst she indulges in her favourite YouTube videos.

I don’t plonk her in a shopping trolley seat or run round after her in the shops – I walk a long facing her as she sits in a firefly trolley. She helps me hold the shopping (sometimes throwing it on the floor and laughing)

We do everything everyone else does, but in our own unique, cool, sometimes challenging, awesome way.

It doesn’t need to be age appropriate, it is what it is.

Special Needs: Riding the Bus

By car, his school is about a twenty-minute drive away. Add another pick up or two and that time can easily double.

Last school year he had a super bus driver and a reasonable 40-minute commute.

I was hoping for the same route and driver this year, but late on Friday afternoon before the long weekend ahead of the start of school, I found out Sebastian would have to ride the bus for nearly an hour each way, extending his school day by almost two hours.

For a kid with cerebral palsy and seizure disorder, that extra time makes a big difference.

Anxiety set in, as I now had to worry about him having seizures from exhaustion. Worse, having them on the bus without anyone noticing.

Would he even be able to go to school every day? Would he be so tired from the ride that the next day it would be difficult for him to learn?

Sebastian isn’t a napper, even when he’s exhausted, so I knew he wouldn’t fall asleep on the bus.

Riding the bus for him isn’t the same as it was for me when I was a kid. I grew up in the country and rode a large bus with dozens of other kids.

Even though I was one of the first and last off the bus each day, I had loads of friends to talk to. It was social.

For Sebastian, there have always been only one or two other kids on the bus, each secured in their own specific seating; which for Sebastian is his wheelchair.

He also requires assistance for communication, so it’s not as though he’s enjoying extra social time. But what he is enjoying is some independence.

The new bus route making me feel again that sense of discrimination and frustration settle in to the pit of my stomach at the lack of real inclusion in our school system.

The frustration for me runs deeper than an extended bus ride. Why can’t my kids go to school together?

We live across the street from our neighbourhood school, which my daughter is attending for the first time this year. I walk her across 45 minutes after Sebastian has gotten on the bus.

Gone are our mornings of doing jokes together for him to share with his switch. Will our breakfast routine change too?

Sebastian’s dad works late in the evenings so we have family breakfasts compared to family dinners. Will I even have time to eat before he gets on the bus?

On the first day of school Sebastian has a few seizures and isn’t well enough to go to school.

He’s happy to take his sister across the street to her new school and pick her up again later that morning for lunch at home with us. My daughter can come home for lunch. Sebastian wishes he could too.

Day two and Sebastian is good to go. All smiles, which only alleviates a little of my anxiety. Will he be able to eat all of his breakfast? Will I get his meds and bag packed in time?

Will I remember to brush his teeth, have time to clean out his feeding bag from his g-tube, and put on his AFOs and hand splints before the bus arrives?

Messages, notes, assistive devices all packed the night before, no time to review the joke from two nights ago.

Mentally ticking off the list while feeding him breakfast, packing his lunch, and watching the clock.

Listening for the beeping of his bus as it backs up into place and turns on the flashing lights, hoping drivers will be patient enough not to pass, as required by law.

At the end of the school day, I walk over to pick up my daughter and then wait another 40 minutes for Sebastian’s bus to drop him home. When it arrives, he’s exhausted.

More seizures on day three but he manages a half day at school and I pick him up early. He stays home on day four.

How is this going to be work all year? Should I take him to and from school to keep him healthy, at the cost of his independence?

Special Needs Siblings

Recently I have been struggling, how can I give each of my children their fair share of attention?

How can I show each of them they are just as loved and cherished as their siblings?

I spend so much time with my baby’s physiotherapy, going to hospital appointments, trying out new equipment to make my baby’s life easier.

I cheer at her inch stones and cheer her on as she struggles through life. I feel bad as sometimes when I am struggling to feed her, struggling to dress her, doing her exercises, I have to tell the older children to wait.

Sometimes due to so much going on I completely forget I have told them to wait and I never do see what they can now do on their bike.

I look at my boy and his autism and realise how much of our day is focused on making sure his routine is the same or that he feels comfortable.

I see that when he is having a violent meltdown my daughter must take her brother away to a different room so that they don’t get hurt, or they don’t get scared.

I realise that we get sensory equipment for him that no one can touch as it’s his calm down equipment yet the other children don’t get anything.

I look at my other children.

I feel sorry that even their birthdays aren’t all about them as we still have to do exercises on our baby, as we still have to do some sort of routine otherwise we will have to face a meltdown.

I look at them and realise the struggle they must go through every day, knowing that their siblings need this extra attention, but not truly understanding why they don’t get it.

I still remember vividly my daughter crying and saying, ‘Why can’t I have a normal brother?!’

This broke my heart –  I felt like I have failed not only her but also her brother.

I make sure bedtimes we spend time one to one, where each child can tell me about their day, where they can show me what they made, where we can just snuggle on the sofa doing nothing but watching cartoons, if that’s all they want to do.

I tell them when I tuck them in at night how special they all are.

I just never realised how hard it is not only for us parents but also to the siblings living with a special needs child.

At the moment I am trying to make them know they are all equally as loved by me and my husband, and that if they ever need me I will be there for them in a heartbeat.