Letter from the heart of a parent with a special needs child

I would like to get a little personal in this article. I am the father of two special needs children, each with their very own unique syndromes. My youngest has more severe, special needs. She will be in a wheelchair for life and is fed through a feeding tube. I am speaking for all parents like me: Enough with the death stares at my daughter. It makes you look like the one with special needs, standing there with a blank stare and drool coming from your mouth.

Special needs children have feelings and they have their own way of expressing themselves. When they are being stared at like an art object, it hurts them and the parent, who takes care of them. There is nothing wrong with being curious about my child’s condition, but please smile at them. Don’t just stare as it is very, belittling and this hurts the entire family.

As a special needs parent, I have so many concerns and issues to deal with. These have kept me up many a night.  I worry about various problems, for example, arranging to be with my child for a lengthy hospital stay.  My life consists of going to clinics on a regular basis, dealing with insurance and cutting through red tape to ensure my children are taken care of. My wife and I have to endure social workers and strangers acting like they are special needs “experts”. These insufferable know it all strangers judge me, when they don’t even know the name of my child’s syndrome.

The most frightening issue a special needs parent is when a specialist gives my child a time stamp, saying they will live up to this age. Please have consideration for my special needs child. People, stop with the staring! The very least you can do is give them a smile or say hello. Special needs children are human beings not a piece of art work to get stared at an analyzed. If you see others doing this please ask them to stop!

My hope and goal for this article is to raise awareness and consideration of special needs children the world over.

About the Author
David Weissman was born in New York and served in the US Army for 13 years, with two deployments to Afghanistan. He is now married with 3 daughters and is a free lance writer after making Aliyah to Israel.
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