Saturday, August 24, 2013

Special Friends

When you have a child with Special Needs you want them to be as "normal" as possible.

You try your best to give them every opportunity possible to be around the influences of "normal" kids by arranging play dates, including them as much as possible in mainstream school classes, exposing them to all the many environments and experiences that they can handle—all in order to help them come across as "normal" as possible so people don't treat them like they are dumb or are afraid of them.

My whole experience in parenting has been to embrace who they are and love them for who they are, but try to get them as close to being "normal" or accepted as is possibly possible.

When I write that all down it seems kinda weird to look at it on "paper."

I use the word "normal" because, I mean come on, the kids who don't stim, lash out because of crowds or bright lights, bite someone in a public place because of the crowd, talk to themselves, don't talk at all, repeat the same question over and over no matter how many times it is answered, reach up to pinch your arm or cheeks because of frustration or embarrassment—they are who society seems as "normal."

Those things aren't accepted as mainstream behavior in society.

These things are COMPLETELY normal to me.

In fact every time I see another parent struggling with their "non-typical" child I want to reach out to them, tell them I totally understand and help them in any way I can.

I don't dare though.

What if that child that I thought had some struggles didn't even have a diagnosis or the parents are oblivious to their struggle and just pass it off as being stubborn, shy, aggressive or, as too many of us assume, just a rotten, spoiled brat.

I got thinking about all this because of one special friend to Sister.

She has a best friend from her school class.

She has special needs.

Sister has special needs.

They are special friends.

So special that when they are together there is a special spirit in the room and an unspoken understanding of each other. They each know how to comfort the other when something is unnerving. They encourage each other, they cheer each other, and they understand each other.

Not "understanding" as of speech or body language, but they just understand one another. There are no explanations of Sister's strange behaviors or fall-aparts. I don't have to apologize over and over again for something rude Sister said, did or thought of.

Just pure friendship and complete acceptance of each other.

It's amazing to watch.

In fact it is miraculous to watch to children who are not accepted in society as the "norm" are so "normal" to each other that nothing seems uncomfortable or awkward. Just true and honest best friendship.

This is Bee. She is on of Sister's best friends.

Bee wasn't able to come to Sister's birthday party so we had her over on her own to play.

Sister asked if they could make cookies and luckily settled for the quick stuff I had in the pantry—a no fail chocolate cake mix.

Bee and Sister had so much fun mixing the batter with me, but their favorite part was pouring it into the cupcake tins and then licking it clean from their fingers and spoons! They had chocolate all over their faces and hands when we were done, and I have no idea how sanitary the batter was by the end...

"Different" is our "normal."

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