Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Be a Special Needs Parent

From's Laura Shumaker.

Kathy Marshall is the first “special”parent that I connected with. Her son John and my son Matthew were in the kindergarten together in a special day class. John, I learned, had cerebral palsy. Kathy had a bemused smile on her face when she told me this. I wondered what that was all about, but it made me feel less anxious about my situation. Matthew was described as pervasively developmentally delayed, a phrase that I took literally, and I was in the process of helping him catch up, hopeful that this would be the only year that he’d need special education.
I was struck by how comfortable Kathy seemed in a room full of 5 and 6 year olds with developmental disabilities.She chased after her mischieveous son John cheerfully when he bolted away with a handful of cookies, maintaining an upbeat conversation the entire time. Seeing this woman looking positive and engaged rather than downbeat and bedraggled gave me hope. Looking back, I think meeting her was my first “Aha” moment special-mom-style. I was going to be OK.

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