Special Needs Parenting – A Path Untraveled
With so many special needs parents in this world, this title may seem odd. Haven’t they traveled this path before? Isn’t it a well-worn path with directional signs and possibly even rest stops? Yes, the path of the “special needs parent” is certainly a common one trod by footsteps of so many before. However, my path as a special needs parent to my children, four with special needs in a variety of flavors, is a path untraveled. My path is unique, just like your own. No two children are exactly the same, even in the special needs world. Therefore, no two parenting experiences will be the same.
Welcome to My Path
So welcome to my path, the path of a wife and mother to five children, three diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and one with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). My one neurotypical child shows signs of giftedness and hypersensitivity, so even in his “typical” world, he faces challenges. Also, being directly in the middle of such a large family of special needs siblings, his adaptation to this world is necessary. As parents, my husband and I have struggled, cried, worried, and feared our way through so many diagnoses. Overwhelmed is an understatement!
Now, however, that we have those diagnoses, we work with our children to guide them toward becoming their best selves, whatever that looks like for each of them. It will be a long and therapy-filled path for some of them, with stops and restarts, meltdowns and successes, along the way. For others, it will be a trial of patience and understanding, both for them and for us. We strive to meet their needs to the best of our abilities, but are brave enough to admit that we are not perfect. Mistakes are learning opportunities and learning leads to growth. Embrace the mistakes as a chance to grow!
Adventures in Misdirection
While our lives are largely surrendered to our children, as it should be (in my humble opinion), we do have other aspects (hobbies, jobs, etc). For example, in addition to being a stay at home special needs caretaker, I am an author/illustrator of an in-progress book series, a scrapbook and card maker, a bibliophile (literature enthusiast), and homeschool teacher/curriculum creator. You will find this site to be a great variety of interests woven together into our “scenic route.”
These are my personal joys, the smaller parts of my life that make me happy and peaceful. I share them with you because if you’re reading still, you’re part of my tribe. You understand this path I’m on, either because you travel on one like it, or you support someone who does. Welcome to the Scenic Route!