Over the years there have been so many things that have been said to me that have really gotten me fired up, but I have chosen to bite my tongue. So, in order to avoid a future freak out on my part, or the part of any parent of a child with special needs, here's what not to say to us:
1. "You never know, one day he might just wake up and start talking." Please, I've fantasized about this day for years and years. It's not going to happen. Nate won't just wake on one day and be able to talk. It's going to take years of hard work, muscle training, and practice. I don't care if you once knew this guy who's cousin's-friend's-sister's-mailman's-ex-brother in law's child was non-verbal and woke up one day talking in complete sentences. It's not going to happen here.
2. "I could never do what you do everyday." Ummm...yes you could. You could because if your child had special needs, you'd man up and deal with it. You wouldn't abandon your child, you wouldn't turn your back on him/her. You'd be the best parent you could in that situation and do what I do everyday. Every child deserves the love of his/her parents, and you would provide that to your child, regardless of any (dis)ability.
3. "Have you tried (fill in the blank)?" Yes, yes, and YES. I've read books, tried diets, therapies, doctors, etc. I've read, read, and read just about everything that has been published. I know you're just trying to be helpful, but most parents who have special needs children have done their homework. They've done everything they can to ensure success for their children. So to answer your question...YES, I have tried (fill in the blank).
4. "He's so lucky to have your as his mom. 'God' only gives you what you can handle." Yes Nate is super lucky to have me as his mom, and I'm super lucky to have him as my child. As for 'God', I'm not going to get into my beliefs right now, but seriously....'He' only gives you what you can handle? I have Nate because I'm a strong person? Really? You're seriously telling me this?? So, if I was a weak person who couldn't handle having a special needs child, I would have a typical child? Well in that case maybe I should be weak. I'm going to love my child regardless of whether I'm weak or strong, he can talk or can't, or whatever the situation may be.
5. "I feel so sorry for you." OOOHHH, this one really gets me. I've only heard this once, but I immediately wanted to punch this person in the face. My situation may be more difficult than the one you have been given, but please don't feel sorry for me. My life isn't picture perfect, we have our daily struggles with Nate and his issues, but instead of feeling sorry for me, offer to help me out. Be proactive instead of pitying. Take him for a walk, donate to CASANA in his name, come over and play with him, but don't, I repeat DON'T feel sorry for me.
So now you're probably asking yourself, "so what the hell, Adrianne? There are so many things that you don't want to hear. What do you want?"
Here are some safe conversation starters:
1. How is Nate doing in school?
2. Has he started his riding therapy yet? How is that going?
3. Is there something I can do to help?
I love you and am thinking of you guys.