As a mother of a child with special needs, I have spent so much of Elizabeth’s life thinking about places we are going and how to make them work for her. People we are going to meet and do they already know how to talk to her ( just like everyone else) or do they understand her trepidations. How will they handle it when she can’t handle things?

Her SPD has made her afraid of so many things so very early on in life,  I am sure so many people just thought she was a very unfriendly, cranky child.  They would try to talk to her or reach out to her to try something and then Elizabeth would respond in a way lead by her fear…she would pull away and cry. Therapy has helped her but to this day, when tired or stressed, she still has to work hard to be social.

Her dyspraxia would make doing something even if she wanted to too difficult, so the word “NO” would be heard or if not heard.  The head shaking back and forth and the pulling away generally got the point across.

And trust me, it is not like I could not understand how it would all seem/look to a person who would encounter Elizabeth for the first times.

So back to what I was saying…..I spent a lot of time planning and thinking and evaluating…

 I still spend time and think I always will on these lovely thoughts, just maybe  less as time goes on due to therapies and maturity on Elizabeth’s part ( and probably mine too!)  but for a person who has devoted such brain space to this, it is always so wonderful when you realize in certain places it will be okay.

When you have been there enough to know you can relax and enjoy.  Or you have a group of people with whom all is okay. So again, you get the chance to relax.

But one of the best things is to find a NEW person or group of people who just get your child, who listen when you tell them how she “works” , who listened when you told them how to talk to her ..who just “GET IT”  that is a wonderful gift and one that is treasured beyond measure.

Our newest place and people that gets Elizabeth come from the church that Elizabeth volunteers at in our town. She does this 2 times a month and the group is just kind. Understanding and encouraging of Elizabeth. They love having her and show it each time they see her.

It did take them a couple times of meeting with her and working with her to “get” Elizabeth’s needs but they asked me questions and I helped them understand who Elizabeth is and about her disorders.

I love that they cared enough to ask and to listen and to work so well with and for her!

To those who are raising a child with special needs, you know how great it feels to hear this and see this!

We are grateful. She just got back today from volunteering for over 3 hours. She feels accomplished and proud and they told me how much fun they had with her….I will take it!

It has taken such work to take our scared, non verbal toddler to this young adult who is in the world. She still has her disorders and still needs certain supports in place depending on the situation, but she is out there.

 I hope everyone meets someone this week who just “GETS” your child.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of Elizabeth Believes in Herself