Monday, October 8, 2012


I am a teacher but not a parent.  I have had the luxury of learning from children and parents through our conversations, shared moments and by observing and have noticed a few things.

When you have a child with a disability, you can't just go to a neighborhood bar-b-que and leave with insight as to how to be a better parent, stop tantrum, or hide vegetables in their dinner.  In fact, the very act of going to the bar-b-que is a stress.  How will my child react?  Will they have any of the 5 foods my child is currently eating?  What if they play a song on the radio that causes a tantrum?  How will I change their diaper at someone else's house?  Will there be any people at the party that haven't met my child?

I don’t have the answers.  I don’t have a quick and handy phrase you can say to those who don’t understand.  But maybe, parenting has more similarities than we originally thought.

Children can try your patience, make you laugh, keep you up at night, occupy your heart and worries, make you dream, hope, and believe.  They can capture us with a smile, a breath, a tiny moment.  They can also push us to a point of tears and frustration and we try to give them comfort and love only to have them still crying and upset.  You hear of parents who are so stressed and frustrated that they hurt their own child in ways we can not fathom or ignore them to avoid hurting them.  We also hear of parents who make sacrifices of food, water, safety, and security; sacrifices that most of us will never be faced with, for the love of their child.

A child with a disability is no different in that regard.  They will challenge their parents in ways that aren't found in popular parenting books.  These parents will laugh and cry, celebrate and worry, just as all parents around them.