This article has bee reprinted with the kind permission of Mari Nosal M.Ed. It originally appeared on the blog, Taking the Diss out of Disabled.
Being the parent of a child with special needs can produce a myriad of emotions that are connected to our children’s growth and development. Some of those emotions will be guilt (did I cause this somehow), anger (why my family), feelings of loss (for what could have been) even a twang of envy when observing typically developing kids skill – set which your child struggles to develop or even possess. These are merely a few examples as each family is different.
When the children are born, you go through a grieving process of sorts. While pregnant, visions of whether the child will be a boy or a girl, what they will look like, whether they will grow up to be the next president, famous ballerina or football player and future parental and social interactions with friends prance through your head.
When the child is born and receives a diagnosis all of the dreams that you had are traded in for therapy appointments, restructuring your own time to help your child experience success to the best of their abilities. After all, just like parents of typically developing kids, you wish to have a well balanced happy healthy child and family life.
For the special needs parent, a simple shopping trip or outing with a child can take days to plan for. They may struggle with getting through a simple shopping trip without some extraneous trigger sending their child into an emotional tailspin. Thus, you cut your outing short. A special needs family who attempts to watch a movie in a theater or enjoy a simple family meal in a restaurant may be forced to leave due to circumstances beyond their control. A child may have an unexpected meltdown, make loud noises that are beyond their parents control until inevitably you hear the “Can’t you control your child” from other patrons.