Parenting A Child With A Disability
As a mom, one of the most devastating things we can ever hear is that something is wrong with our babies. The first thing we do is question ourselves and try to find out what we did wrong, or what we didn’t do that we should have, that could have contributed to our child’s disability. In most cases, there was nothing we did to contribute to our child’s state. For the cases that it was something we did, well, forgive yourself. Children don’t come with instruction manuals, and we learn as we go. We do the best we can with what we know. Love your child, and seek the best for them, and you’re putting them at a great advantage in this world. It’s challenging to parent a child with a disability, but we don’t give up.
I noticed some odd behaviors in my son when he was a baby. He was around one, maybe a little earlier, and I started seeing some concerning behaviors. I didn’t know where to turn to get the help he needed. He was on time with walking, on time with potty training, on time with talking and meeting all of the milestones a regular pediatrician would look for. It was a frustrating place to be to not know how to help your baby, or even know where to go to begin.
I expressed my concerns to family, and even to my husband. Everyone said he’s a boy, he’s fine. I knew different.
I expressed my concerns to a friend of mine who has an Autistic child. She was able to point me in the right direction where I could get my son tested. The day we went in for the testing and meeting, I left in tears. My baby was 3 years and testing as an 18-month-old. He is now 5, turning 6 this year. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
My husband took the news much better than I did. Having a sister with a very serious disability, he was familiar with the challenges. It took me some time to really wrap my head around it. Having a support system really helped a lot. My son has been in a program for special needs since he was diagnosed. He has grown leaps and bounds.
While we still have some very challenging days, we’re grateful that we have days to spend together. We’re grateful for the “easy” days. He still has some obstacles to overcome, but with us supporting him, loving him, challenging him to grow and not settle, and teaching him not to accept defeat, but to fight for success, we are confident that he has a bright future ahead.
Mom, don’t give up! Some days will be rough. I’ve had many days and nights of crying and being frustrated and feeling ill-equipped. I have had to come to the conclusion that as long as I love my son with everything in me, and give him the best opportunities I can for his success, then I’m doing everything I can. Moms, please don’t be too hard on yourself. Your love makes more of a difference than anything else could make.