Guest post by the wonderful NikkiCupcake. This post - while potentially controversial hits close to home with me. I have one super smart though very "normal" child... and one very high needs, sensory processing issues, emotional issues, behavioral issues child... Yes, one probably gets more special attention than the other. Why? Because he needs it. Maybe not even MORE attention, but a different type of attention. Maybe that makes me a bad mom... but the idea that I can teach, treat, and reward them the same is unrealistic - and I truly believe that unless you're in the position of having a high needs child, its hard to understand. Anyways - I'm rambling and you haven't even read the post yet... Carry on ;)
"Lately I’ve been seeing blog posts/comments/articles that say we need to celebrate “regular” or “normal” children. This gets me going in ways I couldn’t explain. I mean at first I totally got it. I thought “Oh that’s cool” considering media is filled with stories about mirco preemies, Autism, and a slew of other issues children may face. Coming from a mother with not 1 but 2 special needs kids (and no they are not on the spectrum (yet another story for another time)) I thought it was cool….. at first.
See as a mother of a special needs child I’ve entered a world of what ifs. Between the special needs sports programs we are involved with and school I see how important it is to celebrate those baby steps forward. I am lucky that Aiden will have a bright, “mainstreamed” future, and Cami we’re still figuring out. Many families are not as lucky. The high fives Cami got for peeing in the potty this morning, some kids will never get. That praise though is going to make Cami want to use the potty. As with ANY child positive reinforcement will go a long way. So I totally get celebrating “regular” or “normal” children.
But that’s not the issue here. The issue is a bunch of jealous parents got together and said “Why do we hear about kids with x, y or z problem?” “My child deserves praise too!” You are right you do deserve praise! But have you put your life and career on hold so your child could get early intervention sessions 5 days a week? Have your child’s issues ripped your family apart? Have you cried yourself to sleep because someone couldn’t give you an answer on what’s wrong with your child? Have you had to fight for every service your child gets? No offence or anything, but I think special needs children (and parents) need a little bit more praise. (Oh and I also have a “normal” child too!)
Maybe the nation and media isn’t giving your “normal” child the attention you think they deserve, which they do deserve because each child is a bright star in a universe of darkness. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be making up for it. You shouldn’t need someone else to celebrate your child, you as a parent need to celebrate your child. See us, special needs parents understand how hard those baby steps really are. That’s why we get together to celebrate our special children, and celebrate other special needs children. So seriously stop the “let’s celebrate normal kids too” bs. Celebrating normalness has gotten us nowhere as a society."
Now, while I don't necessarily agree with the entire post, or the last couple sentences, I do understand her point here. Yes, in my opinion "normal" kids deserve special attention, too... of course... and don't worry - my "normal" kid gets plenty of it... but it's different. Yesterday my son with major sensory issues ran out with a group of kids and played in a firehose. Freezing water and lots of it. He hates 2 things (he hates a lot of things but these two especially) When his clothes don't feel perfect on him (like soaking wet or even a twisted seam) and hates being cold. HATES being cold. On an 85 degree day he will be in jeans and a long sleeve shirt. For my "normal" kid running to a fire hose spraying water isn't a big deal... he's messing around and having fun with his friends. When my "sensory needs" kid came running back I gave him a wet hug and told him how proud of him I was. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but it was. I know how hard that was for him and I was so proud of him for doing something that I know made him totally uncomfortable and going outside the box to try to have some fun. So, again... I realize that this may be a controversial post so I am asking that you please be kind in your responses. Rude comments will be deleted.