From the Principals heart…
- Loaning someone your strength instead of reminding them of their weakness.
Recently I have been moved more than usual with the amount of admiration I have for parents with special needs children. While everyone needs kindness, these everyday heroes need it with an extra dollop on top! The journey of accepting the diagnosis and often uncertain future of your child is not a journey for the faint of heart! The sleepless nights that don’t just last for the first few years, the constant fear of the common cold as it has developmental and often life threatening consequences, the struggle to get food in and the fear of how much nutrition is getting absorbed! The heavenly patience needed when a meltdown is in full swing, or the moments of helplessness when trying to will engagement and social connection, these are just some of the everyday realities our superhero parents face. The constant exhaustion, anxiety and heightened emotion that seem to never fully leave, along with adrenaline infusions that send these exhausted bodies rushing into flight or fight space, this is the everyday reality of a special needs parent!
Facing the world beyond the walls of home or school is something that terrifies most parents firstly because their children are unpredictable and they can never fully anticipate what the outing will look like, as well as dealing with the public stares, comments or well meaning suggestions is often more terrifying than the unpredictable behaviour.
I would like to challenge the outside community to do 3 things well when engaging with special needs parents.
- Get educated! You will always fear what you do not understand.
- Kindness costs nothing but courage. Be brave in how you love
- Use kindness to make these superhero parents feel as admirable as they are! Whether it is a “Well done mom you are doing such an incredible job”. Or taking a moment to engage with parent and child. or spoil these parents with a random act of kindness. All this kindness goes a long way and helps our inspirational superheroes feel included and loved for who they are and the incredible human they are raising! Like the age-old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child, this includes special needs children!” Let’s be the village…