Celebrating the Accomplishments of a Special Needs Child.

ImageWhen you have a child with special needs, it’s easy to slip into the comparison game.  When I do this and I’m at a parent-teacher conference I find myself saying, “yes, he’s improved, but he’s still not where he needs to be.”  I find myself comparing him with his siblings and to the levels they’ve reached at certain ages.

Recently, my son with special needs earned a high honor at school.  I was so proud of him.  Later in the day I let my thoughts wander to wondering why he was chosen for the award. I found myself justifying, “it’s because he’s a third grader and it’s his last year. It’s because they just wanted a representative from the special ed class.”

I saw his principal in passing and she told me how proud she was of him and how much he had grown over the year, academically and socially.  She asked me if I had noticed the growth!?  I thought, not really.  I see him the same and not reading, not writing, being challenging, waking me up early every morning for food and more food and now!!!  

I think it’s important to take all positive comments, awards and recognitions to heart and not scrutinize or justify with “if you could only see him at home!”  When you have a child with special needs they struggle on a constant basis.  They need as many positive reinforcements as they can get.  

I choose to be proud of my son for the award that he got and to believe that he is moving forward in his education.  I choose not make excuses or dismiss the honor that was intended him.  Also, to eliminate the phrase “but his sister can already do….”  from my vocabulary. His journey is his own, not his sister’s or his classmates.  He’s on his own timeline, not the public school system’s or even my own.  

I choose to celebrate every single, tiny, teensy, weensy, accomplishment.  And more importantly to come to a place where I see his strengths and the beauty of him first so that when I receive a compliment or he receives an honor, it’s just a confirmation of what I already know about my son.  

Have you struggled with a child that isn’t achieving as you’d wished? Do you struggle comparing siblings?  Please share.

4 thoughts on “Celebrating the Accomplishments of a Special Needs Child.

  1. I hear you, Nichole. Every time I talk with a teacher or someone who is praising Tirzah inside my head is that “but…” response. I’ve come to realize that God has given me teachers, other school staff, friends at church, etc as a gift to both mr and Tirzah. They remind me of the good, the progress, the reasons to celebrate her that I loose sight of in the dailyness of life. And when we’ve had a really hard day I pull those responses outbid the file in my mind to give me hope.

    I also find hope in hearing that other parents of special needs kids have the same struggles and celebrations. We are not alone!

  2. My kids are grown and I still struggle. Maybe they got that job because they got extra help getting it. Then I realize that maybe I got my job (of nine years) because I knew someone, too.

    • Ann,
      Thanks so much for this post. It really helps me to see another prospective in that I have a tendency to focus on earning whatever comes to me. But there is a lot to be said about unmerited favor and grace! Your comment helps me to keep in mind that favor and help from others along the way is what makes the world special. It helps me to remember that my son is awesome just because he is, not exclusively for what he achieves or does.

  3. Pingback: Celebrating the Accomplishments of a Special Needs Child. | A Beautiful Basket Case

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s