If you have a friend with a special needs child, you’ve probably noticed that she operates a bit differently than you do.
She may survive on less sleep. She watches her child closely– closer than you watch yours, and you’re a good mom. She monitors him, paying attention to the telltale signs his body language or the look in his eyes give off. In one second she’s no longer sitting next to you, because she’s there, with him, mediating a situation you aren’t even aware of, because it hasn’t “blown up”– YET.
Your friend needs you, but she also needs you to understand that her life, and yours, are completely different. Yes he seems “normal”, but her child may have certain issues that, left unchecked, can quickly turn into bad situations. She sees to her child above all else, because family comes first. Even when it may seem like what’s happening there isn’t such a big deal.
She knows her child. She knows what may come next.
I live this every day. I watch and listen and mediate and help him navigate the daily steps of life. This is not helicopter parenting, per se, this is enabling a child to become responsible for himself, with supervision. It is giving him space but also being there to help him through the rougher parts. Because he needs the extra support.
This special needs parenting stuff isn’t for slackers.
If you have a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance with a special needs child, there was an article today on the HEDUA blog that touched me and I think every friend needs to read it. I wish some of mine would.