Thank you Danny – I Forgot You Don’t Always See Special Needs

Overweight-special-needs-boyEvery day of the school year as I crept along in my car in Los Angeles traffic, I passed an elementary school. There were always many children walking with adults, but one boy caught my attention. He was incredibly overweight, and he didn’t walk as much as waddle. His feet barely fit in his sneakers. When I first started seeing him and his mother I got a little judgy – how could his mother let him get this out of hand? What is she feeding him? Doesn’t she realize she is setting him up for a lifetime of health challenges and eating disorders? Then I caught myself, and I thought of Danny.

I never met Danny during his short life, but I follow his mother on Facebook on her Danny’s Warriors page. She chronicled his battle with a brain tumor with painful honestly – a battle we all knew he was going to lose. She and her family tried to make happy memories with Danny, despite his decline. She shared info about his meds and their side effects. Even as he got sicker, one of his meds made him very swollen.

Suddenly my attitude toward the boy and his mom changed. What were they dealing with? Did he have special needs? What if his future was going to be cut short? Now I was happy that the boy was up on his feet, and that he was being made to walk. Each day I tried to see if he was doing better or worse. I searched for little signs, and I worried about him and his mother. I could see how much she loved him unconditionally. I can’t believe I missed all that the first few times I saw them! Sometimes I actually wanted to pull over and talk to them, to see if they needed anything, but I thought that would be weird and stalker-ish. I have to trust that they have a support system in place. All I can do is send out love to them.

Danny has been gone for a while now. I send out love to his mom, his family and his little brother and I thank them for changing my attitude about this other boy and for reminding me how important it is to love the people who are around you today.

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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