Do you remember when your children were little and you handed them a crayon and a picture to color for the first time? You probably gave them instruction to do their best to color within the lines because that’s what we were taught to do as kids. They probably grasped their tiny fingers around the crayon best they could, then began scribbling and coloring all over the page, weaving in and out of the lines. You probably took a moment and thought you should bring attention to the fact they were coloring outside the lines, but didn’t because you could see they were loving every minute of it, they were proud of their creation! It had parts left uncolored, areas that were scribbled and lines that couldn’t contain the marks of the crayon, but that didn’t matter because in that moment you didn’t see fault or difference in their work, you seen a work of art!
Raising a child with special needs is like living in this moment all the time. It’s the best way I can describe it to other parents. Our daughter Olivia has taught us to look beyond what society defines as differences, and to discover value and beauty in individual ability.
A person might look at my daughter and say she is different because she can’t speak. I would say, she may not speak, but she is an excellent communicator. She has the ability to allow another person to feel what she is trying to express through the use of eye gaze and facial expressions.
As a parent of a special needs child, I will let you know, all we special needs parents want, are for our children to be accepted for who and how they are. We don’t want sympathy for our kids, we want compassion. By the way…BIG difference! Just allow them to be themselves, don’t look at them with an “I’m so sorry this happened to you” look because I’ll tell ya, they don’t need your pity. We parents don’t need your pity. Our kids need to be allowed to be themselves, to be valued and respected, and to enrich society with the abilities they were given.
The night sky would be awfully dim, if there were only one star in the sky. It takes millions of individual twinkling stars to make the night sky radiant.