When I set out to start writing this blog, my hopes were to help out other dads of a child with special needs.  Much like writing a journal, I would use the platform to let people know that whatever it is you are thinking is ok. Part of me found this to be therapeutic. From anger to joy, writing always brings out different feelings in me. Luke is always on my mind. Sometimes situations or conversations that occurred a while ago resurface in my brain and I have to let them out. Talking to other people can help, but sometimes after I spill my thoughts, I want to reach out and grab them with hopes of taking all of them back. Today, I’m going to write them down and hopefully if you are reading this, it’s because you want to and you know where I am coming from and can take something useful and positive out of it.

Like most people this time of year (this was a thought around Christmas) I am just looking forward to a break from work. I started thinking about something that transpired between my son (10) and a group of girls (maybe ages 4-7). We were at my other son’s soccer practice, which is always boring for Luke and my younger son Cole to be a part of. Luke and Cole were playing with this small group of girls, when I heard someone crying. My initial reaction is always, “I hope that is not my kid”. Well, it was. One of the girls did something to Luke, not sure what, but he felt the need to scream as if she ripped his heart out. I can’t explain the frustration I feel when Luke is unable to (or chooses not to) tell me what happened. Of course I think this is a group of “mean girls”, and will probably grow up to be the same, but in their defense they don’t know Luke’s story. It took some time, but Luke eventually told me that one of the girls grabbed and scratched his arm. Something to that affect. What really made me upset is what happened a few weeks later when one of those girls told my son Shane that “your brother is weak”.

So how do we handle children who just don’t get Luke’s condition?

Here are a couple of tips…

  • I honestly get tired of the term “Special”. All our kids are special right? Well my son needs special or specific attention to live. He doesn’t see things the way the next kid might. He doesn’t react as quickly as the next kid can.
  • The way we talk up kids who have exceptional talent in sports, dance or academics can be the same way we talk about kids on the opposite side of the spectrum. His brain doesn’t process in the same fashion as the next kid’s does. This will not only affect his thinking, but his motor skills and physical ability.
  • As a parent, I will take ZERO offense to you educating your daughter or son in this area. I’d rather a child at the playground go in knowing about Luke, then sit back and think something is wrong with him. There’s nothing wrong with him, he’s just not like you.

One day our children will be held accountable for their actions. That day is not now. We, as parents are the ones who need to lead by example. So I am asking that you do that. Whether it’s screaming at a teenage referee from the side lines or using inappropriate language in your car, your children are always watching, listening and most of all, learning from the most important person in their life. Happy Parenting!