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  • Katie Smith

Raising a "special" child

A mother's musings over raising someone deemed different by the world.....

Raising a “special” child

-Your child knows he’s extra “special,” but thankfully that word has so many true meanings

  • He's not a "special needs" labeled child, but he has special considerations or circumstances. You just call them "specialties"

  • You continually question your ability to care for a child that won’t follow societal norms let alone follow your own natural abilities

- Every time a "unique or special" issue arises, you jump to long term worse case scenarios

  • there’s a huge weight of responsibility to navigate unsurveyed waters in order to present your child with the best possible route for his well being

  • You never want to treat him differently, but you always have to approach situations differently

  • How much should you assist and how much should you patiently push

- You can’t ever just drop your "special" child off somewhere; even the safest of spaces becomes tragically awkward and scary for a child with specialties, and thus for you

  • you feel as though an advanced degree is required to care for your child, and you are one of the few people taking time to earn this specialist degree, so any and all mishaps fall on your shoulders

  • When there’s not an obvious special need, you feel others view you as over-protective. There’s a learning curve that many acquaintances will never broach, so you simply excuse your whole family from certain environments

Raising my son with a specialist degree is no more unique than raising other children; it just keeps me from vain conversations. I must keep learning. His patterns are not as easily predetermined. However, every human being comes with his own set of "specialties." We just tend to run from those degrees when they take too much time away from our own needs. When a child requires additional time and patience to understand and teach, they are given the title "special needs." This broad spectrum lends itself to ambiguity and relativism.

In every way that rearing a "special" child is harder, it is also equally effortless. Life through their slow and often backwards pace proves purposeful. Raising a "special child" breeds beautiful messes, peaceful chaos, heavy blessings, and humiliating confidence. They turn a mirror onto your own image, giving you a fresh perspective: we all need a little extra TLC from time to time.

I thank God for all my "special" boys, and hope they will keep learning about me as I must them.

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