A text message doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it can have a big impact.

We asked our Mighty parenting community what text messages they’d love to receive when they or their kids are having a particularly overwhelming day. Maybe you know someone who could use a few words of encouragement, a little reminder or a small favor. Go ahead — shoot them a text.

Here are 23 text messages parents of children with special needs would love to receive:

1. “Haven’t talked to you in awhile… How are you?”

Text message that reads "Haven't talked to you in awhile... How are you?"

2. “Saw your son at school today… He had a huge grin on his face!”

Text message that reads, "Saw your son at school today... He had a huge grin on his face!"

3. “Dinner is done, thought you deserved a break after this appointment-filled day.”

Text message that reads "Dinner is done, thought you needed a break on this appointment-filled day."

4. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

Text message that reads "Don't be so hard on yourself."

5. “Even if you can’t come, I wanted to invite you out tonight!”

Text message that reads "Even if you can't come, I wanted to invite you out tonight!"

6. “You’re not alone.”

Text message that reads, "You are not alone."

7. “Let’s meet for coffee.”

Text message that reads "Let's meet for coffee" with a coffee emoji and donut emoji

8. “I know you’re overwhelmed, but you’re doing a great job.”

Text message that reads "I know you're overwhelmed, but you're doing a great job."

9. “I want to learn more about your child’s needs so you feel safe leaving her with me.”

Text message that reads "I want to learn more about your child's needs so you feel safe leaving her with me."

10. “I’ll babysit tonight.”


Text message that reads "I'll babysit tonight."

11. “Loved watching your kid.”

Text message that reads "Loved watching your kid."

12. “Just wanted to let you know I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately!”

Text message that reads "Just wanted to let you know I've been thinking of you a lot lately!"

13. “Life is tough, but so are you!”

Text message that reads, "Life is tough, but so are you!"

14. “I get it.”

Text message that reads "I get it."

15. “I’m on my way over to help with whatever you need.”

Text message that reads "I'm on my way over to help with whatever you need."
16. “You’re an awesome advocate.”

Text message that reads "You're an awesome advocate."

17. “Play date? My kid is asking to play with your kid. I’ll bring the wine.”

Text message that reads "Play date? My kid is asking to play with your kid. I'll bring the wine."

18. “You got this.”

Text message that reads "You got this."

19. “We cleaned the house while you were at work.”

Text message that reads "We cleaned the house while you were at work."

20. “I’m taking my kids to play at the park, would yours like to join?”

Text message that reads "I'm taking my kids to play at the park, would yours like to join?"

21. “You can do this!”

Text message that reads "You can do this!"

22. “I’m here if you need to talk.”

Text message that reads "I'm here if you need to talk."

23. “Stop whatever you’re doing right now and read these words: You are enough.”

Text message that reads "Stop whatever you're doing right now and read these words: YOU ARE ENOUGH."


Hi there! It’s me again. Once again it’s January, and in a few days, we will be meeting along with several others. They call us a team. Your drafts have already been sent home for my review. My notes and questions have been made.

In a few days, a copy of your more-than-25 pages will be passed out to each member of the team. We will start by introducing ourselves, and then the real fun begins. Over the course of two hours (sometimes longer), we will discuss my parent concerns and then your present levels of functioning. We will discuss your goal data and determine whether the goals written on your precious pages have been met. If your goals haven’t been met, we will discuss the possible causes, brainstorm solutions and reword the goal until the verbiage is intricately precise, all in hope of giving my son and daughter the best chance possible to achieve academic success. We will then discuss and determine each of their classroom accommodations:

“Will a 4×6 or a 3×5 index card be allowed to be brought to class to remember math and science formulas?” Yes, your words are that specific.

You state that you do not allow double-sided worksheets/articles to be given to my son or daughter because flipping back and forth is too distracting.

You make it clear that study guides are to be given no less than four days in advance.

You state that tests are to be read to my children, there are to be no true/false questions and they are to get the double allotment of time to take assessments, because their processing disorders make all of the above challenging.

I won’t bore you with the many other speech, occupational therapy and social work accommodations you hold. You know exactly what it says.

We both know an enormous amount of time is dedicated to combing through your words, because, as nit-picky as it may seem, these important details help ensure that my children achieve academic success. A few more loose ends are tied up. And if everything goes well and everyone is in agreement, signatures are obtained and your new pages are ready to be followed. That’s in a perfect world.

Now don’t get me wrong: Most of the team takes you back and painstakingly begins to implement your every word immediately. But there always seems to be that one team member — the one who thinks it isn’t their job, but someone else’s, to read you or even acknowledge you. The one who thinks they don’t have time for you. The one who takes your precious pages and tosses you aside or throws you in a drawer. It’s funny how that one team member is always the first to roll their eyes at my children and get frustrated when they aren’t understanding or performing. And they are always the first to call and tell me. It has to be an awful feeling to be abandoned like that after the entire team worked so hard to create your pages. If only your words were read. If only you were heard.

Honestly, as much as I truly love and appreciate you, I wish you were not such an enormous part of my life. Oh, how I wish I could send my children to school and go about my day without you being on my mind, every hour, heck, every minute for that matter. How I wish I did not have to use up precious vacation time to meet with the team or field phone calls and emails. I mean, a beach and an umbrella drink sounds so much better than a board room; if given the choice, I think you would much rather still be a tree.

And then there’s my reputation that you have indirectly helped me to achieve. I know I am “That Mom.” I know I have been called a b*tch. I also have heard through the grapevine that I am a “piece of work.” That’s been my favorite phrase to date. But no worries — as the old “sticks and stones” adage goes, names will not hurt me. You and I both know my children are entitled by law to receive a free and appropriate education, so therefore, you are the law. You are to be followed. I guess together we will have to continue to be that reminder. If only we were all a part of the team.

So, in a few days, the team will be gathering to pour over your precious pages. We will review you, discuss you, dissect you and sign you. I just sincerely hope that this year everyone spends time with you and really gets to know you. Because after being a part of an IEP team for 13 years, I know you truly do have a lot to say. You really do know how to make the lives of all those involved a whole lot easier. You just need to be heard.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: If you could write a letter to the disability or disease you (or a loved one) face, what would you say to it? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

I want you to remember the last time you were sick. It might have been the flu, a common cold, etc… You might have had some warning signs, signs of your sickness before it hit you with a vengeance. You felt miserable, right? Had to call off work, and cancel any of the next several day’s plans and activities. You laid low, rested and took it easy. The symptoms and pain that seemed to take control of your body made you nothing short of miserable. Probably making you feel as if you had just gotten run over by a semi-truck.

Now imagine that you’re still sick. Imagine that you never bounced back from that sickness. You’ve spent every day for the past several months, or the past several years, feeling the same way you did when you were last sick. Can’t imagine it, can you? You think to yourself, that’s no way to live life. You can’t be that sick or that miserable all the time.

But you can. I can. I do. I spend every waking moment being chronically ill. I spend every waking moment with pain. I spend every waking moment fighting against the raging wars inside my body. Every morning when I wake up, I want to go back to bed. (Even when I haven’t left it yet.) I want to go back to sleep, dreaming of waking up healthy. I don’t want to wake up into sickness. That’s a nightmare. I’m supposed to wake up from nightmares, not into them.

So while you bounced back from your illness, while you recovered from being sick… just remember, I didn’t, I haven’t and I never will. Do me a favor and try to take it a little easy on me. Remind yourself, I may look like you, but we’re two uniquely different individuals. Just because you can’t see the sickness taking over my body doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just because you see me in my wheelchair doesn’t mean I’m an “irresponsible teenager just messing around.” Just because you see me taking pills doesn’t give you the right to judge me or make assumptions. When you see me limping, walking extremely slow or struggling to lift my arm above my head, it doesn’t mean I’m lazy. I push through things that would affect others more. I carry on with my everyday struggles that might land someone else in an ER. You see, most people say, “You couldn’t last a mile in my shoes.” I say, you couldn’t last 10 yards in mine.

I’m not telling you these things to brag about what I can do or what you can’t do. That’s not my intention at all. What I am trying to do is show you a glimpse into my life. That just because I’m a “young” girl doesn’t give me a “get out of jail free card” for having chronic illnesses. They don’t discriminate, they don’t give any leniency or breaks, and believe me when I say, they don’t care.

The trials, struggles, mountains, brokenness, all made me who I am today. The person I am today is incredibly stronger than you’ll ever know.

Hospital room with bed and machines
A hospital room

“Is she yours?”

I think my daughter looks nothing like me. Other then being short and female, she’s a tiny, adorable clone of her daddy. I wish with all my heart I actually believed that this is the reason I am almost never in public with her long before I’m asked if she’s mine. If the questions stopped there, I could probably convince myself it’s because her hair is blonde and stick-straight while mine is dark and a mass of unruly curls. The problem is, too many times the questions don’t stop when I answer, “Yes, she’s mine!” with pride in my voice. Some bolder strangers will ask if I actually gave birth, how I gave birth or the one that always turns my stomach and makes me feel a bit queasy: “Did you mean to have a child?”

Yes. My husband and I planned for and actively “tried” to have a child. We had sex! I felt disappointed each time I felt the cramps that meant another month had passed without success. I felt guilty about the surge of envy that came over me when my sister-in-law called to announce her pregnancy. I did not believe the first time I saw two lines on the test strip (or the second and third time). I cried tears of joy and anxiety when I did believe.

mom pushing young girl on swings
Christine playing with her daughter at the park

Why do these facts shock people so much? Because I’m a person with a disability. I have lived all of my years in a body that doesn’t quite get it right. I need special equipment to drive, I need help to put on socks and I cannot walk independently.

I’ll never really understand why so many people assume a person with a disability is synonymous with an asexual person. People seemed genuinely shocked when I was visibly pregnant. They seemed baffled by the concept of how I got that way. I answered some extremely bold (and rude) questions during that period.

I have spent my life encouraging the curiosity of children I’ve encountered. I have a well-rehearsed speech about how my crutches help me walk the way glasses help some people see. I don’t want them to see me as different or scary. I want them to be comfortable with our differences. I’m not quite so comfortable with the prying questions from adults.

My marriage, sex life and family planning choices are the business of exactly two people: my husband and me.

Sometimes I laugh it off and answer their questions because it’s an opportunity to educate someone about people with disabilities. Sometimes I am short and not subtle that I think they’re crossing a line. Sometimes I try to ignore them.

Soon, ignoring it won’t be an option. At almost 2 years old, my bright and sunny girl doesn’t miss much. She’s wise beyond her years and incredibly empathetic. She points to me and states in her clear, sweet voice, “That’s my mommy!” I dread the day she asks me why people ask if she’s mine so often. I hate that her life will make her far too aware of the prejudice in this world.

I know at least on some level she knows her mommy is different. She’s my biggest helper and guards my crutches like they’re precious (because they are, they help Mommy play!). I cannot wait to see who she becomes.

I hope as she grows the questions will become less frequent and less invasive because more people in our society will accept and understand that people with disabilities aren’t all that different from themselves.

But to answer the question…

Yes, I am her mother. And I’m damn proud of that fact. Now stop asking questions because I have a toddler to chase!

dad, mom and young child
Christine with her husband and daughter

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

I answered a phone call from my daughter’s pediatrician. This wasn’t the first time she called to discuss my daughter’s health, but for me, it was supposed to be big day full of answers and the beginning of a new plan.

As a lump formed in my throat and tears ran down my cheeks, I tried to comprehend how we were likely still stuck in the unknown. The land of undiagnosed.

My fight-or-flight response kicked in, and I found myself arguing with the one medical professional I have never doubted had my back. How could this be? How could we go from “we think we have the answer” to “we are not so sure”? She listened intently and tried to provide the feedback I so desired, assuring me there were next steps, there were doctors willing to try treatment plans and there was another appointment just mere weeks away that may help us make sense of this or at minimum provide a path we had considered but dreaded.

I heard our pediatrician’s voice crack and diversion slip in, and I knew she not only was advocating for us but was and is just as frustrated as we are. She sees what we see and even notices things in our daughter that have become familiar and reminds us they are not of the norm. But she can’t provide the answer.

I hung up the phone, and anger and disappointment took over the afternoon. I had been taught my entire life that if you are sick, you go the doctor. How was it that this age-old practice wasn’t yielding my daughter any satisfactory results? Had I done something or not done something to prevent someone from finding the key to our little girl?

See, if you just met our little ray of sunshine, you may not even know she has episodes of unknown origin daily, that she fatigues easily, that her hands stick after little activity, that she gags and chokes and won’t eat for days in fear it will happen again, that “buggies” crawl all over her, that what you perceive as a tantrum is in fact most likely a seizure or extreme pain.

By now I am used to it. I understand that she knows no different and that life to her is “normal.” But I can’t help but think I am failing her. I can’t help but wonder if I push hard enough or look longer that I will find the one doctor who gets what is going on. I wonder if we should go back to the break from the medical world we took in the past and just accept it for what it is. I know there is no worse feeling than watching your child collapse while out and about and all you can do is comfort her.

I question my sanity and have a hard time enjoying the good days as I fear the bad. I pray we are providing her a life that allows her to be herself and enjoy all she is capable of. And so I Google and read anything and everything I can get my hands on, only pausing to wipe the next set of tears out of my eyes. Then we attend the next appointment with folders, videos, labs, ideas, questions and hope.

Tara and her daughter
Tara and her daughter

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

1. When you try to explain your illness to someone but they just don’t seem to understand.


We all know at least one person who will never truly understand our daily struggle to live a seemingly “normal” life.

2. When the doctor starts you on a new medication or treatment, and it works!


I’m pretty sure we all did a victory dance — or took a victory nap. Because well, naps are nice too.

3. When you wake up and actually feel pretty well.


4. When you wake up with very few “spoons” to get you through the day.


5. When you receive a good prognosis from your doctor.


6. When a medicine or treatment stops working.


Unfortunately it does happen sometimes but we need to remain positive and try to stay hopeful for new options.

7. When someone tells you, “It could be worse!”


We understand you mean no harm by saying that, but please realize that is just like telling someone, “It could be better!” Everyone faces different challenges daily, and we should never compare or belittle each other’s struggles just because we may think they don’t have it as bad as someone else.

8. Also whenever someone tells you, “But you don’t look sick!”


9. When you receive a new diagnosis.


10. Lastly, the way you feel after you have accomplished more than you thought you would.


Whether it’s going out with friends or just getting out of bed, you deserve to celebrate the little things. You’ve got this — keep on fighting!

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Real People. Real Stories.

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We face disability, disease and mental illness together.