It’s very easy, with a special needs child, to get bogged down in the negative.
He can’t talk to me, a lot of us think. He doesn’t have friends. He’s not fully toilet-trained. I can’t trust him alone in the yard or near a street. What will happen when he grows up?
It’s… overwhelming. And yes, there’s a lot of things to be negative about.
But while I was sitting around the office yesterday afternoon, a tidbit from AdvocateMomma popped up on my twitter feed.
Instead of weakness focus on strength💪🏼 What is your child’s 2 biggest strengths? Go!
And that’s something we should all bear in mind.
No, the Monster might never be a neurosurgeon or President. (But who really wants that stress anyway, in either case?) I don’t even know if he’ll ever be able to live fully independently. But…
He’s good-tempered and loving. Setting aside when we deal with horrible meltdowns, he’s possessed of a good disposition and a sense of fun. He’s shown that he grasps the concept of when someone’s not being serious with him (such as when I pick him up and talk about stuffing him into the oven or the garbage disposal – he does, I should note, half-fit into the former). He enjoys physical games, like tag and tickling. He loves to play with children he knows, and is quite happy to hug and be affectionate, and understands that he needs to be gentle.
He’s demonstrated that he’s intelligent. Put him on a playground and he figures out how to pick his way up the various ladders and rock walls to get to the top of a slide. If we take him to Sesame Place, he’s shown he can reason his way to the top of a complicated play structure to get to a water slide. (To my detriment, though, he’s also recognized when I’m near the shopping complex nearby with Starbucks, since he associates going there with getting brownies.)
He has an interesting memory. There’ve been times where I’ve heard him humming anything from Ariana Grande to segments from Sesame Street in the back seat of the car or while we’re at the park, and while I know that part of that is certainly laced into his echolalia, it’s definitely a good memory for complex structures. When he’s been at gymnastics at Rebounders, they’ve commented on how quickly he’s picked up the routines that they put him through. It’s certainly better than the swiss-cheese thing I have going for me…
And every child has a few good things about them, despite any of the (often large) downsides. We just need to choose what we’re going to focus on – the good or the bad – since that’s what’s going to color how we deal with the obstacles ahead of us.