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Special Parent, Special Heart

March 8, 2011
By Maria Spencer

Special parenting decision-making can be absolutely maddening at times. Ever since we learned our child was not typically developing, we all have gone in and out of what I call "Survival Mode." Our survival mode entails searching and researching the latest therapy or treatment that will help our child - and deciding which one is right. Think about that simple fact for one moment - before our child came into our world, our minds never had to think about any type of service that was related to a child with needs. Our gut instincts never had to be put to the test to make crucial, potentially life-changing conclusions.

T hen, one day, God trusts us with this amazing child, to care for and love - and to guide in the best direction, with the most optimal outcomes.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming. We ask ourselves all kinds of questions. This little person's life in my hands, what if I make the wrong decisions, the wrong treatments, the wrong professionals? What if we do too little? Or too much?

From my own experience and of those I've met, we all have these questions and more, and we've all been there on some level. But the good news is that the longer you are on this journey, the simpler the process can be at times - at times. There will always be times that you will have to make difficult decisions on behalf of your child.

But, as I continue to meet families that are affected by a disability or a delay in their child's development, a few things are consistent. Our feelings are all the same, regardless of what the condition is or is not called, and we all want to make decisions about our child's care that will result in progress.

My prayer for all special parents this month is that you will trust your heart to do what is right for your child - even when your heart tells you that less is more.

Sometimes on this path, we automatically think the more services, the better our child will be. But as a parent, there will be times that your gut will say it's time to take a break, or it's time to do less - and that's OK. If you've ever felt that way, or you may be even feeling that way now, I'm giving you permission to listen closely to your heart, and it will guide you in the direction that is best for your child and your entire family at this time.

Think about your special child for one moment. Think about all the places they go to receive a service. Think about all the professionals they see in your home. I'm sure, no matter what their issues are, they still want to be a child, and you still want to be their parent.

If you approach a season of your child's life when you know that it is time to lay off some of their services for awhile, it's OK. I want to be clear: I'm not in any way suggesting you give up all your therapies and services forever; but if you and your family need to just stop one of the services right now, it's OK. Or maybe you are just starting this process, and many professionals are telling you it has to happen right now. Only you know when that "now" is. If it takes a couple weeks for you to get an appointment with a certain agency, it's OK.

Remember, God chose you for this amazing job, and He will provide paths and roads to go down, when you are ready, and when you feel your child is ready. Trust yourself. No one knows your child like you do. It's wonderful to have many options for treatment, but at the same time, you are still a good parent if you only choose a few of the options at a time.

Whether or not our kids talk like other kids, or walk like other kids, or take in sensory input like other kids, they still are just kids. And we still have to be Mommy and Daddy sometime. Special parent to special parent-I'm allowing you to take a break if you need to, and just take time to enjoy your child.

Because you are a special parent, you were born with a very extra-special heart. No matter what it is telling you -- trust it.



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