5 Reasons You Should Make Friends with that Mom of the Special Needs Kid in Your Child’s Classroom

Kelly and her 3 boys

Kelly and her 3 boys

  1. We won’t judge– Was your child the one that dropped the f-bomb on the playground? Was he the one who dressed up like a princess for Halloween? Does she have a fit over the color cup she gets during snack time? Does he insist on wearing the same t-shirt over and over until there are holes in it? Don’t be embarrassed around us! We’ve seen it all. And chances are we’ve battled those or even bigger battles with our own children. When you have a child with special needs you learn really fast not to judge anyone else’s parenting. More than anyone we realize these kids we’re raising, they are their own little people. And while we can guide them and advise them as their parents, they’re going to be who they’re going to be when it’s all said and done. So let your freak flag fly around us! We embrace the different kids in life and we appreciate their desire to be themselves. And? We’re not going to judge you the next time we walk past you at Target and your child has thrown herself on the floor in a fit because you won’t buy her the Barbie she was begging for. Girl, we’ve been there, done that.

 

  1. Autism isn’t contagious– Whether the special needs child in your kid’s class has Down Syndrome, Autism, Asperger’s or some other type of disability, you and your child are not going to catch it. Life with a child with a disability can mean days full of struggle, but they can mean days full of triumphs too. Chances are the mom of the child with the disability has made great progress over the year. Maybe you see it! Don’t be afraid to tell her, “Hey! Little Johnny is doing great this year!” A compliment can go a long way!

 

  1. We have other interests– Does our child have a disability? Yes. Do we sometimes lay awake at night worrying about therapists, IEP’s and the future? Maybe. But our child’s disability isn’t all we are. We love all the things you love. We love to laugh with our friends, go get coffee, to hangout, go shopping, work out, and we also love to talk about our kids too. And some of us even have other kids, typical kids, that we are also very proud of. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen moms out who only know me as the mom of my youngest son who has autism while I have my other two “typical” boys with me, who are older, athletic and pretty successful in school. Moms who only know me as “that mom with the autistic son” are so surprised when they meet my other kids. Yes, we may have a child with special needs, but that’s not all we are.

 

  1. You or your child might learn something –Speaking of my other two boys, who would be considered “typical” in the eyes of the school system, I have two of the most compassionate, patient and kind-hearted boys you will ever meet because their brother has autism. They have had to learn at a very young age the meaning of sacrifice, tolerance and putting other’s needs before their own. We’ve left cookouts early, not gone to restaurants because they don’t serve any food their brother would eat, forgone trips with friends to amusement parks or the pool because their brother couldn’t handle it that day, and had to deal with living to a different standard of rules than their brother because their own abilities are greater than his.  And these types of lessons have helped make them better little humans, and someday I hope, better men. And I know, if you or your son or daughter got to know us a little, you too could learn some of the most beautiful lessons about humanity and about what is most important in life.

 

  1. We’re just like you! –Lastly, we moms of special needs kids are just like you! We laugh just like you, we worry just like you, we celebrate just like you, we struggle just like you and we love our children unconditionally, just like you.

 

So, this September, when you’re standing in your child’s classroom with the other parents as the children meet their teacher and find their desks for the first time, and you see that mom of the special needs kid in your classroom standing alone, maybe go over and introduce yourself to her. Introduce your child to her child. Maybe use it as an opportunity to teach your child a lesson about looking out for those that might need a little protection, or a lesson about including those that might otherwise be excluded, or just use it as an opportunity to prove how a friendly smile can go a long way. Because, wouldn’t life as fellow moms be just that much sweeter if we all did that?

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