It's just that I'm getting tired. Not physically tired, psychically tired. Emotionally and intellectually tired. I'm just dipping my toes into a new pool of sorts. And while we've lived with some of this for, oh, seven years or so....the more formal social and educational aspect of this is hitting closer to home now.
Now that I've thoroughly confused you, I want to say it out loud. But this term, this subject, is loaded. It is rife with taboos and thorns and unwritten rules, as well as rules written at length and all but incomprehensible. And even more, all too often, with ignorance from folks on the outside looking in (And hey, I'll admit, that used to be me). Yes, I'm talking about "special needs."
Yeah, such a simple little set of words.
But OH MY GOODNESS, so very loaded.
Now, I could do a post and be like the "Church Lady" and point out what we all already know:
And I do believe that.
But this post is about another aspect of "special needs."
And it's that I am tired of the taboos.
I am tired of not being able to say things out loud, for fear of stigma.
I am tired of when I do say it, somehow voices drop to a whisper, or I get an "Oh....ahh" and a quick look away kind of response.
Or worse, a well meaning defense of my kid saying "No way, that can't be right."
This is all making me want to strap on my mom armor and go to battle.
I have two, possibly three, kids who have special needs. Yeah, I could say, "different needs" or something like that. But I am tired and too old to be tiptoeing through the ever shifting sands of pc (or, more accurately: 'sc', socially correct) verbage. I mean they have needs that are, big or small, outside the standard box.
Disclaimer ahead: So, to be clear, in this post, I am talking about kids who don't fit the mold of standard track education or behaviors or medical issues. Special needs comes in all different forms and levels and severity, so I cannot speak to those needs that are not ours and would not try to. I can speak to what we are working with, in our home, with my kids. Disclaimer over.
What I want to throw out there (And maybe it's naive, and I hope the special ed/needs community doesn't flame me): Why the taboo?
Why do we have to whisper about this stuff?
Why is there such stigma?
Why does it have to be?
Why do well meaning folks instantly say, "No, that can't be right?" as if, if it IS accurate, then somehow that child is less than they were perceived prior to the new knowledge?
Nothing changes with this knowledge.
The child, my child, is not a different person if we know more about them and how their mind works.
Their "worth" is in no way based on how they learn or if they have glitches or if they cannot.
It's fine tuning.
Special needs information is not an appraisal of value or rank, it's information gathering; it is problem solving. It's fine tuning; academic approaches, behavioral needs, medical stuff....it's figuring out what works best for them and why. Period.
And I want to start talking out loud about some of the issues we are working through.
And I fear I cannot online due to the possibility of hurting my child somehow, somewhere, someday.
I want to try to open up to other families who might be dealing with some of these issues to share tips and ideas.
Even here, even now, I have to hedge a bit, worry about protecting them.
But the beauty of this blog world is the connection. I have been repeatedly amazed and grateful for the prayers and the help and the advice and the simple feeling of not being alone...due to this blog community. And I suspect there might be other families that have children who have medical, educational, behavior issues that are out there.
Heck there is an alphabet jungle out there of issues, we have a small forest of them in my house. Is it wrong to want to use resources, to connect to help my kids? To help me? I don't think so.
I hope that maybe other moms might be tired of not being able to talk about this part of their family life. I hope that other moms might be tired of their kids being slotted into a stereotype due to a possible "label" or some small bit of information. That small bit of information, that acronym, or term, is a tiny (or, sometimes, large) facet of who they really are - the wholeness of their person.
Are there any moms out there who are tired of pushing against the tide of perception?
I want to break out.
I want to talk about my kids.
I want to talk about all my kids.
I want to have conversations about special needs - without the stigma.
I want to shout: having a different approach or way of learning or brain wiring doesn't make you less.
It's different. Less common maybe.
It takes some brainstorming, a lot sometimes.
Don't slot my kid, don't presume.
They may really have that issue, and it's a little scary.
They may not, but then they probably have another one to work on.
But that very thing (the one that's not 'pc' to talk about outright), might just be one of their strengths as well, depending on how you look at it.
But, let's break the taboo.
Let's start saying these things out loud.
If you can't speak of it, name it, it has so much more power, but the wrong kind.
And that breaks my heart.
But it also makes me angry because it's wrong.
We have to advocate and be strong for these kids especially.
So I guess I'm talking. Armor on.
Because they deserve it.
Because they are beautiful.
And I'm their mom.