To All Caregivers of Kids (Especially Special Needs): Two Words

son hugging his mother

Yesterday I had to leave work (again) because one of my kids was sick (again) and we went to the doctor (again). There was a tall young dad in the waiting room with a tiny infant. He juggled the supplies and the baby until he managed to find a bottle. Of course I made a fuss over the cuteness of the little bundle, despite the mortification of my own child who now stands 3 inches taller than me. The dad had a beard and was wearing skinny jeans so I assumed his disheveled hair was due to his hipsterness, but as we chatted he confessed that he wasn’t sure if he had showered in the past three days. Between their older toddler and the baby he and the mommy were completely overwhelmed. We commiserated about those days of pure survival, where it is just a minute by minute constant blur of diapers, laundry, bottles and burps – not to mention all the other icky stuff. Then the exhausted dad took a deep breath, looked my special needs child right in the eye, and said, “You better thank your mother.”

It is sad, but true – parenting any child, special needs or not, is literally a thankless job. Caregiving in general is clearly not valued in our society – just look at the pay rates. It is crucial in those early years (and all the years that follow) that those young beings are treated right, engaged, stimulated and loved. And yet many parents and caregivers never hear a thank you – and if they have special needs, the ones in their care may be unable to communicate, even if they are truly grateful.

So in this time of Thanksgiving, to all the parents, grandparents, caregivers, therapists, teachers and family friends let me say thank you. If you care enough to read this then you care about your role in a child’s life – maybe even a special needs child’s life – and you are doing a great job.

Thank you!The autism challenge - small

Ps – If you are seeing family or friends this holiday season, and you are caring for a special needs child, take the opportunity to educate them on whatever challenges your child is facing. The Autism Society put together this quick quiz… it’s a great way to get the conversation started. And again…thank you, for all you do!

About the Author

Rosie Reeves is a writer and mother of three; including one with special needs. She works side-by-side with her daughter’s therapists, teachers and doctors. Rosie has also served as the Los Angeles Special Needs Kids Examiner. She can be reached at Rosie is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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