A Special Breed of Parent

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Special Needs Parents are a special breed.  Parents of typical children don’t get it, and probably never will.  We revel at every inch of progress our child makes.  We know our child may quite possibly be forever delayed intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically, as compared to their peers.  This knowledge also imparts upon us the beauty and fragility of our child.  “There but for the Grace of God go I” is the quote we have heard many times.  We marvel at their progress and exult in their attainments because we realize their potential.  That potential is virtually limitless.  As parents on the Spectrum we have learned about many famous historical figures, geniuses and icons who were (actually or likely) autistic.  That next step, that complete sentence, that piece of art, that next thing they do (we hope) will unlock that little section of his brain, and bring our child closer to reaching that potential.  We are, as described in the exerpt below, ever vigilant of our child’s milestones because, more than anyone else they encounter,  we provide comfort and reassurance; essential components of nurturing parents.  We commit every verbal and visual nuance to memory; knowing the difference between crying and really crying.  No one taught us how to be Special Needs parents.  For all the how-to books and blogs, we know our path is as unique and individualized as our child is; hopefully along the way we intersect with other parents who have a shared experience that will help us on our way, and vice versa.  Special Needs parents are indeed a special breed: tenacious, patient, strong of will and backbone, educated, passionate and compassionate, and ever-present.  This is our figurative cross, and we bear it gladly.  Please click on the links to view the full article.  -Ed

Mom, Watch This!

I don’t tell her that I will never forget the first time that I heard, “Look, Mama.” I don’t tell her that my baby girl was just three weeks shy of her 6th birthday when she pointed to the blue house — the one I’ll never forget — and said those words.


A Few Kind Words From One Mother

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To Those Who Know What It Means to Be Reborn A Mother

Jess Wilson, Mother and blogger, A Diary of a Mom

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~ Rajneesh

I knew that motherhood would change me.

Or at least I knew that it would re-order my priorities.

What I didn’t know was that it would re-order my soul.

I didn’t know that in lending my body to my babies I would surrender my very being to a process unfathomably larger than myself.

I didn’t know that in so doing, I would find faith. And Faith.

I didn’t know that along with my babies’ births would come a vulnerability that would settle permanently in my heart.

That although the physical scars would heal, the karmic chasm would remain open and raw — letting in the extremes of the joy and pain of this life as a mother — unfiltered, unadulterated, unmitigated.

What I didn’t know was that loving my babies would be the greatest gift imaginable.

***To those who mother slowly, thoughtfully, cautiously and to those who throw themselves headlong into the messy, sticky, torturous sweetness of it all without ever looking back,

To those who keep a strict schedule and to those who don’t keep a strict anything at all,

To those who home-school and to those who are relieved to see the yellow bus in the morning,

To those who sing in the choir and to those who pray quietly every night at their babies’ bedsides,

To those who bake for hours and to those who stop at the bakery on the way home from work,

To those who hold their children close and to those who can’t wait to meet the children who will become their own — knowing they are out there somewhere, waiting to come home,

To those who mother intuitively and to those who over-analyze each and every decision they make,

To those who write their stories and to those who read them,

To those who have lived through the unfathomable pain of losing a child and to those whose hearts are with them.

To those who shout from the sidelines and to those who coach the team,

To those who pray that someday their child can BE on a team,

To those who have children with special needs and to those who teach their children respect and compassion for those who do,

To those whose children can say, “Thank you, Mom,” with words and to those whose children don’t yet have words and yet say just that — and so much more — every day,

To those who testify before congress about autism and the support that the community so desperately needs and to those who work for months to summon the courage to talk to one neighbor about their child’s differences,

To those who change the world simply by showing their children the rewards of a life lived with empathy and love, respect and appreciation for their fellow human beings,

To those who know what it means to be reborn a mother,


A very, very Happy Mother’s Day.

The preceding was originally posted on my blog, Diary of a Mom on Mother’s Day, 2010.

A Very Happy Mother’s Day to You!

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Just a few snippets from moms on the Spectrum on their special day.  Happy Mother’s Day! -Ed

Mother’s Day: Autistic 12-Year-Old Interviews His Mom About What It’s Like To Raise Him

Mothers Day Storycorps 


An Autism Mom’s “Unique” Mother’s Day Gift

From Lisa Jo Rudy

A Unique Mother’s Day Gift

For any of you who might be wondering if your spectrum child will be under your roof forever…well, this one’s for you.

My son and I had the coolest conversation the other day at dinner, when it was just the two of us.  I’ve been trying for the last few years (on occasion) to ask my son what he would like to be when he grows up.  My question is usually met with silence, or something inappropriate about one of his special interests, or by the simple statement, “I don’t know”.  Well, imagine my surprise when I broached the subject the other night (expecting the same response), but instead was met with the following exchange:

“Oh, Mommy, when I grow up,” he said, excitedly, “I’m going to be a teacher.”

I, of course, jumped right on it, surprised and elated to be having an actual conversation about the future.  “Really?” I said.  “What kind of teacher?”

And he said, “I’ll be a computer teacher, of course.”

“Of course – – ” I was trying to reiterate, but was interrupted.

“And I’m going to marry Jenny (his current “girlfriend” at school) and we’re going to have five kids.”

I was happily surprised to hear he had it all planned out.  “Five kids, huh?”

“Oh, yes,” he continued.  “It will be a boy, girl, boy, girl, boy – just like that.”

“Well,” I cautioned.  “It might not work out just like that.”

“That’s okay,” he said.  “I’ll still love them all the same and they’ll have YOU as a Grandma.  What could be better than that?”

So for all of you Spectrum Moms out there who think there’s no hope for the future and that no one else understands what you’re going through, please remember this.  It is possible for our kids to get better.  You just have to take the first step and then another and another…  Happy (early) Mothers Day to all of my fellow Warrior Moms!!


Mom Hero: ‘Super Mom’ Responds With Love to Autism’s Challenges

In honor of Mother’s Day, TODAY Moms is celebrating Mom Heroes, those everyday wonder women who quietly change the world. More than 700 readers submitted essays for our Mom Hero contest, and we wish we could give everyone a prize. Ultimately, the winners told us beautiful stories about mothers who are unsung heroes. Check back every day this week for a new winner.

Do you know a mom hero who deserves thanks? Send her a e-card. 

 Sandy Painter of Exton, Pa., is a mom of two, a full-time student, and, according to her husband Jason: “The top mom, regardless of if she wins anything.”

By Jason Painter

My Mom Hero is my wife, Sandy Painter. She is the hardest working mother I know.

Our youngest son is severely autistic. He receives numerous therapy sessions at our house and our school. Sandy participates and deals with all of our son’s therapists and his school. She also manages his diet, which is very restricted. He is gluten, casein and soy free.

The best way I can put her love for our family into words is to watch when our autistic son hits, scratches and bites her on a consistent basis. She has never hit him or put him down. She is constantly trying to find ways to make him better while being a mother to our daughter and a wife to me.

Sandy constantly helps our daughter with normal problems that a 9-year-old girl faces. She helps at the school and has spent many a night reading to her and helping her with her homework. She manages to keep our house clean and keep dinner on the table.

When Sandy is not being super mom, she is being a super student. Sandy went back to school and is taking four classes a semester. She has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, all while being an amazing mother to a special needs child and a normal child.

Sandy is an amazing wife and I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth to have her as my wife. In my book, she is the top mom, regardless of if she wins anything.