I know Elizabeth likes to relax by watching television.

I know that Elizabeth likes to go out to dinner.

I know she struggles to order her food if she is nervous to talk.

I know she loves to paint.

I know she loves being with her friends.

I know she struggles with math work.

I will tell you she is happy and so kind hearted, through it all.

I know my daughter. And I will happily tell you about her.  I will also be happy to tell you about her disorders and how they affect her life.  I will be happy to tell you how her dyspraxia makes many motor skills some pretty hard work and how her sensory processing disorder ( SPD) can make her anxious over things others find pretty easy to do.

I will tell you about these things because she works really hard at life and all it hands her.

I write this post today for a dear, wonderful friend who has a son with special needs.  He  is a pretty wonderful young man who has accomplished a lot in life because of who he is and also because of who his mom is.

She recently had an experience that we, as parents to and caregivers of someone with special needs, can relate to.  It was an experience that hurts to your core.  And can take you days to come back from.

She had a conversation with someone who told her all about her son, his struggles and his “ways”.  But the thing is she did not know the first thing about my friends son.

When she spoke, she did not know how hard he works, why some things bother him and other things do not.

When she spoke, she did not know that he gets straight A’s and that he swims pretty darn well for his school’s team.

She did not know because she did not ask and she may not have asked because it is far to easy to make assumptions or judgments on simple face value.

But as a mom with a special needs daughter, I will say there is so much more to our special children.  Each day can see highs and lows, struggles and successes and at a given moment Elizabeth could be talking up a blue streak followed by appearing anxious when she remembers she is headed somewhere she is unsure of.

But asking us is the sure fire way of understanding.  Us as their parent/caregiver and them as the ones working so hard.

Passing a judgement is easy, taking the time to listen is not.  In a world that is so fast paced, making time is hard.  But it is necessary to recognize the gifts of these special needs people. Be them young or old.

I hope this post will be the “voice” in someone’s head to make that time.  Because to those on their journeys  it matters….a lot.

And to my friend, your son is amazing, please know that!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of ” I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister