I recently received a comment on my blog from a mother who for the past fifteen years has raised her daughter with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) which is what my son Trace has. Michele’s website is fantastic as is her writing on the journey she has gone through with her daughter Elizabeth, struggling with SPD. While reading her post “When People Just Get it!” I realized suddenly in our life how people just don’t get it…
How to explain to Family and Friends he’s normal but different?
Trace is only six years old and yet he is afraid of so many things, and due to these fears he often acts out and becomes demanding. He’s afraid of the dark. He’s afraid of bugs. He’s afraid of being alone (yes we still co-sleep) and he’s afraid everyone hates him. Having SPD and Bipolar Disorder is not easily manageable for either us or Trace. But what truly gets me is the lack of care and understanding that comes from friends and family.
Things we often hear…
- He’s spoiled.
- You let him get away with too much
- You give in to his behavior.
- He’s a brat.
- He’s not restaurant trained.
- No kids allowed.
- He’s out of control.
- You need to punish him more
As a mom of a special needs child these comments hurt, especially when the one thing I need is support and understanding from my family and friends. I highly doubt any of them have sat down in front of a computer to read this blog (you know who you are) or even read up on bipolar in children and the difficulties that arise from raising a child with SPD. To them Trace is just trace — a typical kid who gets what he wants when he wants and is rude and doesn’t listen.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends. I just don’t feel they don’t understand a lot of the time and that makes me sad. It’s hard when dealing with these things and you don’t have the backing of the family you need supporting you.
Michele mentions in her blog post that you need to find a person or a group of people who understand your child’s needs and gain support from them.
My mom has always been my rock in that area. Both her and my dad came up when Trace was born and have been there for us through thick and thin. So have several of my friends who JUST GET what it is all about.
My issue is with others in my life. People who should take the time to try to understand, who have kids and never once stop to ask themselves — What if this was my child? Would I like it if people constantly said I was making excuses for him/or her?
They wouldn’t. I know that for sure. No parent wants to hear that when they are trying so hard to do the right thing, but never knowing is his behavior just him being six or is it part of his having special needs?
The bottom line… I’m a special needs mom with a special needs child and a special needs husband (whole other story) and like it or not, agree or not. I’m doing the best I can. Whether the people in my life GET THAT or DON’T does not really matter.
What matters is Trace…