This is such a loaded question. I mean it is something we say to each other when we meet in a store or at the pool.
Usually the answers I get range from: “Great” to “Well, you know, busy."
When I am asked this question, I usually answer the truth: “It is great to have my kids home. I am having fun having them around.” This is so true for me, I am the mom who kind of get addicted to my children quite quickly.
But what I do not give in my answer is the second layer of emotion that that question elicits. And that emotion is how I feel about the summer for Elizabeth.
I know that those who have a child with special needs will understand.
You want your child with special needs to have the fun they deserve, to have the relaxing time that others are experiencing. To be able to recharge themselves. It is just that there are times in the summer that Elizabeth’s special needs really show themselves and step in in a way that blocks the fun of an event. Or they increase her anxiety so that something others would look forward to, becomes something to focus on, analyze and worry about.
That name right there conjures up the immediate emotions of happiness, joy and fun.
After all, it did not get the name of “The Happiest Place on Earth” by accident.
But when your child has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and Dyspraxia... The emotions are more varied. There is fear, anxiety, resistance mixed in with the above. Her SPD shows itself at times like this.
What rides we will be going on. What to expect. YouTube helped with this.
Her Dyspraxia will show itself in how organized she will be for common skills.
...For her, organizational skills fall away. She will forget the steps necessary to do something she has done countless times. We get how Elizabeth “works” so we know how to help her and we know what she needs to keep herself calm and organized. This is a such an important thing.
We are all excited about the vacation and time together. And with the proper prep time done, we are hoping to have as much enjoyment as ever. And make some memories.
The reason I wrote this blog is to let those who may feel lonely in their emotions.
To those who are keeping that second layer of emotions to yourself, please know that so many of us get it.
That so many of us know what you feel.
That the work you do for your special needs child is invaluable.
I think I write the words that I wished I could have read many years ago. Hope someone needed to read this today.
I wish everyone a peaceful month.
Michele Gianetti is a mom of three, registered nurse, and published author ("I Believe in You," "Emily's Sister"). She writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.