Special Saturday was started by Wendy at Savette Gazette to raise awareness of children with special needs. Every Saturday a prompt is given to encourage people to write or tweet something in order to help raise awareness of special needs children, whether it be the challenges of raising our children or celebrating their achievements.
This week’s prompt is to complete the sentence starting - my special needs child has taught me…..
I have learnt so many things through my children that it is impossible to write them all down and in any case so much of what I have learnt is so embedded in who I am now that its hard to recollect everything. Nevertheless here is a flavour of some of the things my children have taught me.
My special needs children have taught me …..
- many things about autism and aspergers but that there is always more to learn.
- that autism and aspergers is not just Rainman; that people with an autistic spectrum disorder are as diverse as the non-autistic population.
- to recognise and act upon the smallest of physical and emotional signs in my children that indicate anxiety or stress that can lead to more serious problems.
- to communicate with my children in ways that helps them to understand what I am saying. By trying to avoid metaphorical and ambiguous language and keeping what I say short and simple I can help my children to understand the world around them.
- to appreciate the importance of special interests in destressing my children and helping them to feel happy and free from the pressures of the social world. Their special interests (art for my daughter, computers for my son) offer them a chance for them to excel in something and to feel good about themselves.
- that just because someone uses complex language doesn’t mean they understand the language of others. Similarly just because someone doesn’t use complex language doesn’t mean they don’t understand other people.
- not to be afraid of speaking up for my children and to question those who think or claim to know my children more than me. I know my children more than anyone and if I disagree with anyone’s views on my children I will tell them (politely of course).
- to ignore those who stare or comment rudely about my family and to appreciate those who have empathy and understanding for us. This can come from the most unexpected of people such as the young man in one of my classess who totally got autism and how changing from school to school holidays would be difficult for my son and me. A moment that reassured me that there are good people out there.
- not to judge others in the way that others have judged me as a parent. When I see a child behaving in what may seem to be odd, eccentric or antisocial ways I do not assume that bad parenting is the cause. I try and be open minded to the possibility that that child may have a disability or mental health disorder and that their parents or carers may need support, not condemnation.
- and above all I have learned to become more patient and flexible in bringing up my children.
If you would like to find out more about Special Saturday or contribute to this worthy cause, you can find out more through these routes.
- Twitter username: SpecialSat
- Facebook page: Special Saturday
- Website: SpecialSaturday.org
- Wendy via The Savette Gazette