You know all this wording about special needs, child with a disability, additional needs, child with an intellectual disability, etc. You must be politically correct at all time!

Does it drive you crazy?

Well, it certainly does to me.  Another grief I have is when people (who I’m sure are really good deep inside say things like) “God only gives crosses to those who can bear it,” “sure God loves us,” “he’ll be fine.” Really!  A lot of this is ridicules in my book but then again, I’m a long time at it.

Are our children special? No (again in my book) they are more than special they are fantastic. And no other child can compare. Why? Look at all your child has achieved in the daily run of things. Most of them had to fight to live to begin with and we have had to continue that fight for everything else in their life from then on.

Why do we do it?

Because we have to, we have no choice, if we don’t who will.  Our children are fantastic, they always become the best they can be, and they try harder than other children, without complaining. I have met a lot of children and young adults while working with Financial Wellbeing and not one of them have an “issue” with themselves.

When David was about 4, I was trying so hard with physio, therapies, etc. to try and make him walk with sticks (as they were called then). I had parents tell me to remortgage my house and move to Budapest and get the best treatment possible. I even went to a therapist from Budapest who parents brought over to help their children and I wanted to see if it would work with David.

These parents were/are fantastic, they are trying constantly for their child not letting a stone unturned.  Unfortunately, the therapy didn’t work for David (did I mention how stubborn he is!!) so he ended up strengthening the “bad” muscles instead due to his rebellious nature. But if he had adapted and we could all see results would I have remortgaged? I probably would, and I can understand why parents travel the world for their child.

David, on the other hand, had his say in all of this and one day as he was wobbling with a walker and I with the help of therapists had spent ages trying to get him to “do it properly” he stopped and said, “Mum, this is the way David does it.” Well, that put a stop to my tracks and only then did I realise that David was happy with the way he walked.  I had to sit back and say “he is happy doing things the way he does”.  Why was I pushing him? Was I doing it for David or me, for the social face? Is it for everyone else to feel comfortable when he comes into a room? Is walking all I should be interested in? Should I work on his ability’s instead of his disabilities?

Eventually after lots of talking, discussing wondering what to do. I listened to David and from there and built on his strengths and the things he liked to do. Of course, we had our share of operations to help him stand aided but there does come a time when you have to look at the child and not the disability. To enjoy him/her, fine we must get help in some areas and that’s understandable provided our children are happy to do it and can (not in my case) understand the repercussions in doing or not doing something.

Are we as parents special? Yes

You bet we are. People can say “they understand”, “how do you do it” but we know they never will. We are on call 24 hours a day and even when we try to work or socialise our children are always in our mind. Our lives have changed with a child who has achieved amazing things and only we can see it.

I’ll leave you on this note. Just for today appreciate yourself and what you have done, do something nice for yourself and your child and do yourself a favour listen to them, help them but accept them for who they are.