A Very Special Ode to Special Needs Parents

I was observing a couple recently at the mall struggling with a child with Downs Syndrome
who was in an over stimulated, I want to go home now,
meltdown mode. As is characteristic of me, my experience
jettisoned into a silent, analytical, observation. I made mental
notes pertaining to the responsibility afforded to a special
needs parent. It is a 24-7 job. Parents must be on call to jump
to attention for a whimpering baby with a wet diaper or
hunger pangs. Mothers must be on constant alert for toddlers
unrolling a roll of toilet paper that he is busily spreading from
room to room, with the roll unraveling behind him, as he
gleefully runs.
We are a tough breed who gets attacked with a
projectile shot of vomit that lands on our bodies with
the force of a speeding bullet. We wipe runny noses
with an almost unlimited amount of tissue that seems
to be pulled from thin air. We spend years with sleep
deprivation from waking at all hours of the night to nurse
sick children back to health. We spend the better part
of our child’s teen years pacing the floor when our new
drivers are past curfew, conjuring up all the terrible
things that might have happened to them within the
confines of our mind.
Through challenges, trials, tribulations, childhood
illness, moms and dads shrug it off and unquestionably
support their children day after day. We never notice the
first year of life when you smell like spit up, or that poopy
diaper that leaked on your lap. We have all made an urgent trip to the store smelling like the latter because our
worries about looking presentable are blinded by the needs
of our child; when we have run out of baby food or diapers.
There you have it, all parents are special, but special needs
parents are different. They are humbled, challenged, tough,
protective and cheerleaders for their children beyond the call of
duty. They deal with doctors,
teachers, therapists and
more who tell them their child
will never meet a certain
milestone; milestones that
traditional parents take for
A word of caution, never
say their child won’t, can’t,
never will, or any other
phrase which reeks of pessimistic projections for their child.
Like a cat, special needs parents have hidden claws behind
their fingernails that will protrude when they are in attack
mode resultant from any threat, or negativity aimed towards
their child or the child’s parent.
Special needs parents will expect nothing but the best of
care for their children. They are not afraid to vocalize and
take action until their child gets just that. While other parents
seek out babysitters for a weekly date night, many special
needs parents silently stay home to care for their child’s
demanding needs. It is much more diffi cult to get sitters for
special needs children, and medical and therapy issues
can leave parents fi nancially strapped. While other parents
complain that their child did not make captain of the soccer
team, these parents merely want their child to make the team
and socialize with peers, or simply walk and talk.
While parents worry
about their child being
popular, special needs
parents worry about their
child having friends at all.
We shuffle e our children
to numerous therapy
appointments, social
groups, pediatricians,
tutors and specialists, while
managing jobs, homes and the stares from people in public.
Through it all we realize that we can climb mountains, make it
to the summit and down again as we develop determination and
strength to fight for our young like nothing else.

Mari Nosal M.Ed., CECE

Mari Nosal : Please stop by my site at Amazon Books and check out my published books on autism aspergers special needs and more   http://tinyurl.com/kdspqy9



3 thoughts on “A Very Special Ode to Special Needs Parents”

  1. What a brilliant blog that will resonate with many parents of special needs children/adults. We wear many hats – teacher, campaigner, carer, and my favourite hat of all is proud parent 🙂


  2. I love this post! I totally understand…I started a parenting group with 4 friends and I finally stopped going. It was hard to hear their “serious concerns” that I only wished we’re high on my list when I was dealing with physical tantrums and rage at school. I know now that it was really my issue and not theirs but it was hard…until I knew how to grow a thick skin, appreciate my son’s gifts, and realize how truly blessed that I was 😉


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