My Daughter Is Not Special Because She Has Special Needs; She’s Special Because Of Who She Is

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I think one of the challenging aspects of raising a child with special needs is coping with the reality that there are people in their life who will define them by their diagnosis, and not for the person they are inside.

Olivia has Cerebral Palsy and with that comes many physical challenges. As her mother, it’s tough to sometimes watch her struggle, and it breaks my heart watching her go through countless surgeries and procedures, but through it all, she perseveres. Olivia works extremely hard, each and every day, to accomplish things most of us take for granted and she does it with grace, patience…well, sometimes (may I remind you of the red hair), and determination.

But most will never know this side of her. Most will see her as a disabled child, wheelchair bound, who appears to observe the world around her, rather than a defining aspect of it. They will stare awkwardly at her unusual body movements and dismiss her beautiful smile. They will pity the child they see. Most do not realize that lying beneath that blanket of Cerebral Palsy is a child rich in wonder; a child with purpose and ability, a child in which words will never leave her mouth, yet she will speak deeply to our hearts and teach us to listen with our souls. This child, my child, has been through tremendous struggles, but has found strength through it all.

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who loves to have fun and play….

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an animal lover and green thumb at heart…

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a music enthusiast and craft extrordinaire….

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a diva…

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a child who has overcome so many odds and continues to astound us with her progress …

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Many will never understand the battles special needs families fights daily to achieve equality for their children. Our children are not broken. They are not without purpose. They are beautifully different and just as uniquely important. What makes them special is not what they have, it’s who they are. They are teachers of hope, love, determination, equality and perseverance. They are people who deserve to be treated as people and nothing less.

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