You know you are a special needs parent when:
1. You consider your child’s therapists and medical team as family because you spend more time with them than you do your own.
2. You live your life by your calendar. Medical and therapy appointments and meetings with teachers or other community services are a huge part of your daily life.
3. You no longer can phone the teenager in your neighborhood to babysit at the drop of hat. Nope, you need to hire a quality trained respite worker. Someone who has been taught to deal with seizures, has had professional training in transfers, can apply proper stretches and routine exercises with your child, is confident and skilled with tube feeding, is patient and compassionate to your child’s needs. Yes, if you want to have a date with your spouse or a few hours to yourself, you book your respite worker weeks in advance!
3. You dread IEP meetings.
4. You can’t remember the last time you did anything for you. Me time doesn’t exist!
5. When you wake up in the morning, your brain buzzes with things pertaining to your child and at night, before you shut your eyes, it continues to buzz with those things.
6. Your sleepless nights didn’t end with the infant stage, no you haven’t slept through in years!
7. You find yourself more emotional than ever before. You experience tears of joy and sadness daily.
8. Finding time for your other children can sometimes feel like a juggling act, so you experience great amounts of guilt.
9. Some of your closest friends are probably special needs parents too.
10. You have stayed with your child in hospital so many times that when you take them into emergency, you take your emergency prepacked suitcase for “just in case”.
11. You hate hearing, “geeze, looking at her, she doesn’t look like she has a disability” or better yet, “just wait and see”.
12. You would like to go into a store or shopping mall without a million eyes gawking at your child in a wheelchair.
13. You hate the word retarded and want to throat punch anyone you hear using it.
14. You NEVER use the word milestone when discussing your child’s progress.
15. You celebrate every success your child achieves.
16. You want nothing more than full equality and acceptance for your child.
17. Discrimination and segregation are your worst fears for your child.
18. You speak up! You become the powerful voice of your child and develop a strong skill in advocacy.
19. Educating others on your child’s special needs is your passion. You know in order to change the stigma, you need to educate the ignorant.
20. You become a blogger.