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Challenge: Raising Siblings

Talking "Special Needs"

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I'm no expert. I'm pretty new to this game myself, though I studied all the testaments of the great researchers when I was an undergraduate and graduate student. I don't really remember anyone venturing down the road of special needs when it came to addressing your typical children and their peers. Perhaps it is an advance that fills parents with angst and so we tend to sweep our concerns or the innocent comments under the rug, smile brightly, and move on.


My children's peers offer their questions about Amos fairly regularly and so far, they have been directed towards me, chief mother of the Wood children. I am game with this program. I answer thoughtfully, truthfully and directly to the questions that were asked last year about when he may walk and now the ones that come about when he will be able to talk. We don't know, I will say, we hope, but we don't know.

It has been in those moments that I realized we hadn't really spoken to our own children about the fate of Amos. No, while my husband and I have spent much time in thought and contemplation regarding Amos and his future, we had protected them from these late night talks. In realizing the omission, we have made an effort to do that these days- talking about the great unknown. A lesson we all learn in life though there is a part of me that wishes it was not so soon.

We talk frequently and candidly with our children, more than I knew possible. We all voice our concerns, lament the words we wish he would say, and then we sweep him up in hugs and kisses. We make sure to do this not just at home, but at church or the playground or on a beautiful afternoon on the beach. There's no secret in being different or at least we think there shouldn't be.

To cloak Amos in false smiles and wistful hope is to undo the parts of him that we think are wonderful. As much as we long for more, we will take him as he is. I hope my children see that love comes in the packages we didn't order, wishes we don't always make, and little boys with bright smiles, blue glasses, and a funny gait.

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