parents of special needs children

What I Wish I Knew Then That I Know Now

Someone asked me this week, “What do you wish you knew then that you know now? What would you have done differently?”


It Will Be Okay


I think the most important thing I’d go back in time to tell myself is this: It will be okay.


When we have a special needs child we struggle with the loss of dreams and expectations. But it will be okay. You will adapt to what you need to do for your child, and your child will be okay. That’s the most important thing.


Early Intervention


At the time, it was really important for me to focus on early intervention for my kids. I did a lot of early intervention and I don’t have any regrets. I am thankful that I was very aggressive with interventions. I am also thankful that we continued interventions. Even now my kids have interventions and they are in their mid to late 20s! And they are still continuing to make improvements through their intervention strategies.


A Common Misconception


People often have a misconception that there is some point at which you should be done with interventions. I don’t think you’re ever done. You are constantly evolving. The problems themselves may shift and change, but they are still things that need to be addressed. I’ve talked before about our “village”—your village of providers may change, but you will continue to have a village. What might be present at 5 years of age may not be present at 12, but you might have a different problem at 12 and still another at 18. We don’t so much get “done” with interventions as we adapt throughout our lifespans.


I am dealing with some different issues with my younger son based on some mental health issues that I did not see when he was 10. He’s improved a great deal, but that improvement has pulled back the curtains on another issue. Everything is intermingled.


My Recommendation


I recommend aggressive intervention and as much support from providers as you can find so that you can make the changes you need to make when you need to make them, whether it turns out that you need speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, behavioral or musical or horseback-riding therapy—whatever you need!


Your Child’s Independence


You are always working to help your kiddo become more independent and to adapt to a challenging environment, and this is the best thing you can do. We never stop learning! Our brains are constantly evolving.


Don’t Give Up


So what do I wish I knew then that I know now? if I could, I would go back in time and tell myself, “It will be okay! Don’t ever give up, and keep moving forward!”

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