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Special Needs Famlies: A Place to Belong

Adrian exploring his latest discovery. {Image © Spectrum Mom}

 

After reading my sister’s post about her family’s most recent outing, I was pretty inspired to talk about Special Needs.  But more specifically, the needs of these families, who too often go without accommodations or simple comforts that other families might enjoy and many of us might take for granted.  Both of my sisters are moms to special needs children and being a mom in a family that consistently struggles against the negative stereotypes and “inconveniences” caused by prejudice and racism, I can understand part of their journey and the challenges they face in raising children that everyone else might label as “different”.

 

I’ve listened to my sister’s frustration at the lack of understanding in her community and the social exclusion they often feel…being outsiders among the “normal” (let’s call them “average“) moms.  But moms of Special Needs kids often don’t get the benefit of doubt.  They don’t get to make mistakes, and they sure don’t get the positive feedback and support from society that they deserve!

 

The reason I’m mentioning this, is because the post that my sister wrote really touched my heart and made me think about the things that so many of us might take for granted.  Her son is Autistic and so it’s the little things that often seem the most miraculous.  And while the average parents, like you and me, might not think twice about these types of activities because they are regulars in our lives, a Special Needs moms sees the big picture in even the tiniest of victories.  My sister describes one of these experiences so perfectly in her post about how she took my nephew to a local movie theater that recently started hosting ‘Sensory Friendly Films‘ in a new partnerships with the Autism Society of America.  This is something that really impresses me, because more often than not, it seems that we forget about these types of considerations in our daily lives.  Be it wheelchair ramps, safety rails or the smaller, but equally important comforts, like bringing up the lights and turning down the noise so that children with sensory difficulties can also enjoy a movie out with their family.  I think it’s absolutely wonderful what the Autism Society and other organizations like them are doing to help Special Needs families.  :)  I’m just glad to know that there are people out there who are making Special Needs a priority.  Please support them in any way you can.  ♥

 

 

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  • Me and the Mexican
    July 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Great post Chantilly.  It's so important that people step out of their comfort zone and learn about autism/aspbergers/tourettes/etc….  Once you learn more you have a different outlook.   So many of us do not know what is going on behind the scenes.  It's good to be educated.  I'm off to read your sister's post now.

  • Jen Marshall Duncan
    July 28, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Last year I took some classes with a man who's son has autism. At Christmastime he came to class to give an assigned presentation, and in the middle of it he paused to show a YouTube video he'd filmed at home. It showed his three kids putting ornaments on their Christmas tree. At first, we all wondered why this was a big deal–but then he explained. Every year they decorate the tree together as a family, but his son with autism just sits in a corner, rocking. He has never participated in the family ritual, or any family ritual. Until then…That year, he got up and put two ornaments on the tree. The man showed that video with tears in his eyes. He looked at all of us who are studying to teach kids with special needs and told us what you just said in your post: to most of us, putting an ornament on a tree is not a big deal. To his family, it was a cause for joyous celebration–the best Christmas gift ever. 

    I am glad that you wrote this post. Like Tara, I am now off to read your sister's post!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      July 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing that story Jen. That really touches my heart. These kinds of stories are so beautiful and amazing and my wish would be that everyone would realize how much these little things matter to families with Special Needs kids. <3 Thank you so much for wanting to understand and learn more. That means a lot to me.

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