Friday, March 28, 2014

A new kind of Parent

(Let's here a cheer for the single blog post for March!)

One reason this blog has been so quiet is that much of my energy has been devoted to being a parent. Specifically, becoming a new kind of parent.

A parent to children with special needs.

Discovering the depth of need in the one in whom it was expected.

Realizing that there are other great needs in one not expected.

My past months have been filled with therapy appointments, referrals, parent meetings, result meetings, home testing, inquiry phone calls, and questions. Lots of questions.

I've been learning lots of new words and abbreviations: IEP, Language delay, OT, Attachment Therapy, Sensory Integration, RAD, ADHD, and neuropsychology, and whether or not they apply to my kids.

These months have brought me to my knees in a new kind of way. There are things in my kids that my love can't heal. I can't fix it. There is a fundamental way that the brain is not working. And it rips my heart apart as I realize the ways that coping is now beginning to fail them. God has incredible plans for them and has provided an array of professionals & friends with amazing skills that are walking with us through this.

Just today, I received the results from an evaluation that I agree with--everything in it rings true, the professional is not making things up. And I want to cry. To see the words "difficulties", "well below average", and "decreased skills" associate with my beautiful, insightful, sensitive children just hurts. I want to wrap them into a cocoon and make it all better. Take away their challenge and struggle and make life easier.

Accordingly, I am becoming a new kind of parent. I'm asking a whole lot of questions. I'm not ready to assume anything anymore. I really don't care how uninformed I look, but I need to understand everything so the best decisions possible can be made. What worked for one child in terms of parenting, schooling and discipline doesn't work for another child.

Also, before you respond: "I don't remember any of this from when I was growing up," I would agree. I knew no one who went to therapy that long ago, but there were always those kids: class clowns, loners, someone who just didn't fit in. Kids with needs have always been around, it's just that now we have names and therapies that help.

Regardless of what was true then, this is true in our family now. And I'm pretty sure that many other parents have been in this same place. It is real. I will name it and help my child handle it appropriately. However, I don't want it to become our family's crutch. Giving a label and understanding is important, but it is simply a step towards healing.

I have great hope for our family's future. With constant prayer, appropriate guidance and therapy, and a lot of really hard work, I know these little brains can be healed. God has great things in store for each of us. The lessons I'm learning, well, they aren't the easiest, but they are good. Because God is, all the time.

And it's the new kind of parent who really focuses on that.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We're also in the special needs parenting world. Reach or if your looking for companions to compare notes. -Rebekah

Sarah said...

We also have been on this learning journey for the last year with Early On, speech, OT, and sensory. It's overwhelming and I'm so thankful for all the resources out there.

I'll pray for you.

Sarah

Amy Lyman said...

Our children are not broken, they are differently abled and just as incredible as a child with "normal" or "above average" test scores. I learned these buzz words many a year ago. God is good. That's why you've been blessed with your children. You are absolutely entitled to your own feelings. I just got MEAP scores in the mail for both my boys. They paint very different pictures of two very different and wonderful children. Yes, I did compare briefly. That is normal. But then I moved on. You are where you are supposed to be, and so are your children. Never doubt for a second you are a great parent. There is no time for blame or fault, only love and understanding. Your children are not broken, they are wonderful, and so are you as parents.

Mars said...

Amen Amy.