One thing that has always been a struggle for us is getting people to really understand that sometimes our son is just ‘different’. And not a bad different! He thinks differently than we do, he has a completely different reasoning for things than we do, that’s just how a gifted child thinks. Just because he does not physically look different, doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own struggles with him that we are working on. Every child has their own issues! I have heard so many times over that people with children who are gifted, mildly autistic, SPD, and other issues that do not present obvious physical handicaps can be treated so poorly when they are out in public. I am certainly not trying to downplay those with physical handicaps, but children sometimes have special needs- even though they look “normal”. I cannot tell you how many times I have left the playground in tears (of course without my son noticing) because children- and even their parents!- do not want to play with my son because he gets a little too close, or too loud, or too excited. You should see the looks I have gotten- it is extremely disheartening! How can a parent be so cruel to another child?
It’s even harder when your own family refuses to believe you or admit that maybe there really is something different with your child. Our family is half and half. I always hear the comments “Oh he’s just like his cousins- there’s nothing different about him”….really? I’m not even going to start that list!
I like to read “Hartley’s Life With 3 Boys“- she is an amazing mother (with 3 boys!) as well as a writer. Two of her 3 boys are SPD/Autistic. She has stories from a lot of other similar families too. Her mother, Helen Nickelson, posted an amazing article yesterday from a grandparents perspective on having grandchildren with “special needs”. I encourage you to take the time to read it-it is REALLY worth it! Here’s a little bit of her post:
Perfect now means we are together whenever and wherever we can be, doing nothing, or anything that allows us all to be comfortable, calm and happy. That doesn’t always look like what I had imagined. Instead, it may mean not visiting some places or participating in some activities because it would be too chaotic. It may mean on holidays some of the children may be at the table barefoot, wearing sweats, or standing instead of sitting, or walking away if needed. It may also mean one or more children may forgo the turkey in favor of a PB sandwich (on white bread with no crust, of course). It may mean no candles, because of fear of fire or any number of other “oddities”, but it will always mean spending time & sharing memories with the most wonderful children in the world….MY “perfect” grandchildren
Please please read her post at Hartley’s Life with 3 Boys. I wish I could print it out and give this to our families to read- but then that would be too obvious! 🙂