Having a child with special needs comes with a lot of extras: extra supports that might include therapy, tutoring, frequent medical appointments, and tons of other additional things that we have to comply with on an individual basis. As a parent, it’s only natural to feel that every second counts and to try with all our hearts to make time for a new therapy or academic reinforcement because it may be just the thing we need. However, we should never forget that, as important as it is to help our children succeed and maximize their abilities through formal supports, it is just as important to let them be just kids.
Be sure to schedule time for them to be kids
They need to make silly things, to do nothing sometimes, to explore the world around without labels and data measurement. Not everything needs to be a therapy or an intervention, and not everything needs to be scheduled to be productive. Indeed, many children with special needs require speech therapy to clarify their words or learn how to create the sounds that will allow them to speak, but most importantly, they need to feel heard as individuals to become inspired to talk to us. We want them to be mobile to the maximum extent, but if they are not empowered but their environment and find the magic of being part of their communities, physical therapy would never be as effective.
Our children with special needs, like any other child, are the results of their life experiences, memories, and their perceptions of the world around them
- They will probably never forget nor be able to measure the impact of the many hours we invest in taking them to therapy, but they will always cherish the memories of the times in which, regardless of their challenges, they felt understood and included.
- They will probably never realize the efforts we made taking them to daily tutoring, but they will always remember the times in which they felt capable, and when they made us feel proud.
- They will remember the times at the park, the pajama parties, the laughing, the hugs and the kisses.
The way we make them feel is what builds their personality, their strength, and their faith in themselves. Hopefully, those feelings are the ones building the joy in their lives every day. Because despite their special needs, their needs are very basic. They want to be children. They want to learn, to grow, and to discover new things in the most typical way: by holding our hands and recognizing love and acceptance in our eyes as parents