Special Needs Parents Share What They Wish All Parents Understood
Knowing just what to say — or not to say — to a parent of a child with special needs may be hard. Special Family asked the Arkansas Down Syndrome Network on Facebook for help.
"It goes without saying … never use the R-word." —Jennifer S.
"Please don’t ask 'what’s wrong?' with my child. There’s nothing wrong with her. She has Down syndrome just like she has blue eyes, dark hair and a big smile. It’s not anything wrong." —Laura S.
"Don't say 'You know, you should spank him/her for acting like that. They are just throwing a fit to get their way,' or 'Please take your retard home if they can’t behave in public.' Yep, happened to me at a restaurant in February as kiddo was having a sensory issue and we were walking out." —Jenine S.
"Please don’t ever say 'I’m so very sorry your child has Down syndrome.' When I heard this for the first time it really broke my heart. We are not sorry. We are so blessed to have this child." —Daphne E.
"Don’t be scared by us or be in awe of us. I hate it when people say only special parents get special kids. I’m as much a hot mess as any other mama juggling life." —Dorothy G.
"Don’t ask 'What will her quality of life be or look like?' Don’t ask 'When will she outgrow it?' My response is always 'Hmmm, never … she will grow into it.' —Rebekah F.
"When Ella was younger, people used to tell me 'she doesn’t even look like she has Down syndrome' like it was a compliment. … I’m proud of my sweet Ella in every single way! I think her almond eyes and made-for-flip-flops toes are beyond beautiful!" —Katie
"Our daughter has a feeding tube. Please, for the love, do not make feeding/diet suggestions to me. Also helpful, get trained for respite care." —Samantha S.
"Presume competence!" —Celeste C.
"Always greet [the child] and ask them how they are! They love attention." —Nicole H.
"Ask 'How can I help?'"—Natalie C.
"Don’t be afraid to talk to me about my child. There might be some things you don’t relate to, but that’s true between all parents when talking about all kids." —Jacqueline G.
"I’ve been told before that my husband and I are blessed because God chose us to care for his special gift from above … It was helpful because so many times I wondered why but never questioned God. But it happened for a reason to show how big one’s heart can really be." —Shirlene L.