The parents of children with special needs rarely have time for thoughtful contemplation of the daily challenges they face, so consumed are they with multi-tasking on myriad levels. Every once in a while, we are blessed with an inspiring look into the hearts and souls of these battle-weary warriors on what it means to be the parent of a child with special needs. Salma Ahsan, D.O., based in Athens, Georgia, is the parent of two children with special needs, and has lovingly penned the following reflection for the families she works with in her practice. She has agreed to share it with those of us who love and support these families as allied professionals.
“I know how you felt when you were told you had a child with special needs;
I know the pain, fear, hope, and love in your heart;
I know that sometimes you feel like it is you and your child (or children) against the whole world;
I know how you felt when your child finally showed you they knew you were their mommy, either by a glance, a touch, through an assisted communication device, or even gloriously by calling you mom;
I know that no other mother knows on the level that we do, how glorious milestones are;
I know how angry and lost you feel when you fight for your child's rights against the school district;
I know how hopeless and lost you feel when you talk to doctors who don't understand or even care to understand;
I know the tears in your eyes when you can't let your child go out to play with the neighborhood kids;
I know the blade that tears through your heart when another child makes fun of your child's differences;
I know how you shut yourself in your room and scream or lay in bed all day because you just can't take it anymore;
I know that it doesn't matter how many degrees we have after our names or how much money we have, or what ethnicity we are, or where we live, our fight for our children's rights is still the same with its heart wrenching defeats and sometimes glorious victories;
I know that very few on this earth can see the beauty in our children like we do; because if they could just understand that the wisdom behind the eyes of our children is actually greater than many creatures on earth, then they would believe in them like we do;
I know that WE are the chosen ones; because the love we have for these children is actually God's love;
I know that what you will do in your fight for your child with special needs will change the world in ways that you may never know;
I know that I will always pray for your fight because your journey is my journey;
I have always known your heart, just like you know mine.
-Written by Salma Ahsan, for all my fellow mother warrior sisters”
It is my hope that these poignant insights will increase the compassion of those of us who work with these amazing families and make us more effective in our efforts to support them.
Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., Member of the Special Needs Alliance and Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.