Monday, August 18, 2008

My Special Child

There are times when I feel like a total fraud. I talk about my son and his issues and I am so overwhelmed at times that I am just not sure how to handle everything. And then I see a child who is so much worse either behaviorally or physically and I feel like a fraud. Who am I to complain about my sons tantrums or aversions or obsessions? At least he can walk and feed himself. At least his brain functions and he is smart and will get through his issues and not be dealing with the majority of them for his entire life. A mother who is part of a playgroup with me emailed me the other day to see how I was. One of the things she said was that those of us with high needs children have to stick together and help one another. And I felt like a complete fraud. My child is not THAT BAD.

So then, that begs the question, how bad is THAT bad? When does a child become "high needs" and when is he just a spoiled brat? When do I admit that I have a special needs child? AM I in denial or is he already there? I have no clue. I do know that having someone understand why I hesitate to go on play dates or have anyone over to the house is a real help. At least I know I am not alone.

I am struggling right now with deciding whether The Boy needs a diagnosis or a label. Whether it would benefit him or hurt him in the long run. Whether he is really a special needs child in more than just speech or if he is just highly gifted with a brain that works a little different and maybe a few extra quirks to make life interesting.

There are days that all I want to do is run away. When I am absolutely positive that I cannot take another tantrum or food issue or sleepless night. When I know that someone else could handle all of this so much better than I am. When I feel that I am doing all that I can possibly do and it is still not enough.

And then there are days when I look at that sweet face and know..... that he is special in all of the most important ways. He is my special, sweet, smart, wonderful child. And whatever comes in the future.... we will handle together.

So. My "special needs" or "high needs" child is just right for me. I could not imagine life without him. Now I have to take one step at a time and find what is right for us. What is right for HIM. And make sure that I "mama bear" it into happening.....


Laura ~Peach~ said...

in our generation "special needs" was a ummm bad thing (can't think this early) deragatory thing... in todays world it is not so much... speech issues seem to be pretty common and strangely enough so many kids who to me dont have a speech issue at all are dumpped into a speech class or are taken to a special group (to me it is way way over used) Labels suck... hang in there I may be back to babble more later when the coffee has kicked in!
HUGS Laura

InTheFastLane said...

Sometimes it is so hard to know which way to go. My nine-year old sometimes (often) come close to the border of me thinking he needs to be in counseling. And then I just think that maybe I am the one that needs counseling. But, wait, I am a counselor...And then his teachers tell me how good he is at school and he gets good grades and does what he is supposed to. And sometimes that just makes me feel worse that he seems so out of control at home. And he does still have a speech issue, that the school never addressed because he is so smart. I bring it up every year. How long do I wait before I push for something? Questions, questions...I feel for you.

Asthmagirl said...

Having been down a similar path with my daughter who is now 18, I'm happy to share what little wisdom I accumulated.
The only reason to accept a label on your child is to recieve services. The label doesn't make him better or different, it doesn't cure him and it won't help him sleep at night. A label can work against you in terms of what service providers or special ed programs think needs to be delivered. So even if there is a label or diagnosis, you still need to advocate for your son's unique needs.

When my daughter was younger, I pushed for a label because I thought it would help me to see what was coming. It didn't. Even if there is a label that fits your child, there is still a whole lot of leeway in how how your child presents. As an example, saying a child is autistic is not an indicator of their capabilities. There is a large spectrum of autism and the diagnosis won't help a service provider know what is needed just by the determination alone.

Trust your instincts and advocate for what works best for your son.

Dragonfly Dreaming said...

Take a deep breath and exhale. The fact that you love that sweet boy is proof in the pudding that YOU are the one meant to be caring for him. And as adverse as I am to labels, sometimes they exist for us to better understand something and no other reason. Maybe there IS more that can be done for him, just not by YOU...don't give up hope, and know that there are many, many others out there that are in the same boat. Talk to them, lean on them...learn from them.


comfortandjoy said...


You are one hell of a mama bear.


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

I love that you wrote this.

Hallie :)

graceunderautism said...

I was feeling that same frustration and confusion almost exactly a year ago this month. August was our breaking point last year.

I am grateful for our diagnosis even if he doesn't present the "classic" symptoms. Even if he has the more conservative diagnosis. Even if he is super smart and yet super quirky (and adversive and sleepless) It gets us more services and it gets us an IEP and that means we get help wth our frustrations.

Bina said...

When are things "that bad"? When you can't handle them. Parents of children who can't walk, talk or feed themselves learn how to handle it, but some don't. My mother couldn't handle my sister who has extreme Down's Syndrome. Oh, she tried, but she was a single parent with four other kids. She couldn't do it.

It doesn't matter what other people think of your son, it matters what HE thinks of himself and what YOU think of him and how you help him, and how he learns to help himself. High needs? Special needs? It doesn't matter. He is your son. You love him and will protect him and do what's best for him no matter the name. That's what we, as mothers, will always do for our children.

And the best thing? He KNOWS how much you love and care for him. That in itself says it all.