Being a Parent to a Child With a Disability Has Meant Criticism

Parenting a child with a disability comes with lots of extra love and lots of extra challenges. One challenge I did not anticipate was the criticism. Even before my daughter’s “official” diagnosis of autism we were criticized about the way we parented her. We weren’t doing enough, we knew her too well, we were ignoring the fact that she was “different.” Those are just a few of the things that were said. Some to our face, but mostly behind our backs.

Some of these critics might surprise you. They can range from family and friends to complete strangers. Once your child starts school your critics can become support staff and other parents. I can tell you first hand these criticisms hurt. They hurt like hell. Sometimes it may be a little sting, while others have me questioning myself.

Here is something these critics know nothing about: my truth. The late nights I spend filling out paperwork. The time I spend searching for different therapies and strategies to help my child — which then turns into hours on the phone with insurance companies (we all know there is no fairy that comes and waves her magic wand to make every service in your area appear.) They don’t see the time I spend helping my child master a new skill. The hours of meetings, phone calls and emails with therapists, teachers and support staff at school.

I believe the best thing we can do for our children is be their parent and advocate.

You need to know what a great job you are doing as both. It’s not easy, but every day we get up and do it all over again. As a parent, we spend the most time with our children so we are the experts on what works best for them. We don’t need to explain ourselves to every person we meet. The love we have for our children is fierce and we go above and beyond to help them thrive. If your critics can’t see that, it’s their loss.

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