Why I'm Thankful for the Special Needs Community


I’m thankful for the special needs community…

For the teachers, therapists, staff, and paraprofessional extraordinaire, “Mrs.Z,” who have all cared for, assisted, taught, reassured, laughed with (not at) and hugged my big boy for the last four years. Ethan’s accomplishments couldn’t have come without the nurturing experiences we’ve had at our school. Every year has been better than the last, because as he keeps growing and changing, his team keeps finding ways to work with him, encourage him and meet his needs.

For the two most amazing school bus drivers ever, taking the time to forge a bond and build a relationship with my often quiet, reserved, child. Thank you for keeping him safe on the bus ride to school, for always making him comfortable and for always trying.

mother smiling with two children outside

For the counselors and staff of Camp Sunrise, (specifically Meghan, Tara, Alex, Alec, Jorian, Liam and Anna) for giving my son the same opportunities available to typical kids… and for allowing siblings without disabilities to register. Both kids get to share the same fun and strengthen their sibling bond for seven weeks each summer.

For the many local and national autism organizations that have partnered with businesses and entertainment venues to provide training and/or sensory sensitive events for families to enjoy. Whether it’s a sensory friendly movie, a speed pass at an amusement park, special seating at a MLB game, specially-trained hair stylists, surfing and swim instructors, or aware wait staff or sales associates, your accommodations are incredibly appreciated by our family.

For the state of Connecticut’s DEP, from creating Camp Harkness (campground specifically for families with disabilities). Given my children’s interest-turned-obsession with tent camping, it was wonderful to discover Camp Harkness. Even with my aging eyesight, I can keep an eye on the kids, regardless of where they are in the beach-playscape-tent site triangle. It’s especially nice that when they leave the beach to go on the playscape, I can remain there to enjoy a good book. It’s also nice that when Ethan wants to swim at 7 a.m., I can easily accompany him to the shore with coffee in hand.

And, lastly, for all the special needs bloggers, websites, Facebook pages, mailing lists and online communities, which often print the same conversations I’m having with myself in my head. For once again proving I’m not alone, my kids are supported and that there is a great big world out there for us.

And that world  is wonderful.

TOPICS
,
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

To the Lady at the Grocery Store Who Let My Son Tap Her Shoulder

“Good Ways to Get People’s Attention” is one of the social stories my son’s behavioral therapist has used to improve his social skills. Because words don’t come easily to Alex, he may resort to inappropriate behaviors, such as suddenly grabbing someone’s arm to get that person’s attention. Instead, we needed to teach him socially appropriate [...]

The Beautiful Reason My Son Still Believes in Santa

Dear Good Samaritan, Let me start by introducing myself: My name is Courtney. My husband and I have an 8-year-old son with autism and then some. Our little boy struggles with more labels than a clearance item, I have many chronic illnesses, and my husband has more metal in his body than bones. I know the church doesn’t tell [...]

I Am THAT Kid's Mother

This morning I delivered a video to an elementary principal who wants to learn more about autism. While I was at the school, a paraeducator asked if I’d read the essay about “THAT kid.” It’s been floating around the internet. She said I might appreciate it. Click here to read the essay “Dear Parent: About THAT Kid…”  [...]

If The Story Behind This Blind Boy With Autism Doesn't Inspire You, His Voice Will

This is a kid who’s been through a lot and still finds reason to sing. Christopher Duffley, now 12, weighted one pound and 12 ounces when he was born premature at 26 weeks, in May 2001, according to the YouTube video below. He was in critical condition but managed to pull through and was eventually [...]