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“There’s no such thing as special needs children. All children are special, and they all have needs.”

I stared at the screen, re-reading the statement above in an online forum. Really?

That was several years ago. At that time, I thought about the months I survived on, at most, four hours of sleep per night because our tiny babies had to be fed on a strict schedule. I thought about apnea monitors going off in the night, signaling a child had stopped breathing. I thought about the hundreds of doctor and therapy appointments I’d attended with all five, and later six, kids in tow. I thought about the three years we waited for our son to walk.

And today I could add the 36,500 prescription doses (a conservative estimate) we’ve meted out in the last 10 years. And the 20+ casts in the cast room (hospitals should have a frequent buyer program). And the years it took for two boys to learn to swim. And teaching my daughter to don, doff, and clean her prosthetics. And I won’t even mention the long, laborious days of schoolwork, where we still count on our fingers that 2+3 is 5. We’ve been working on that one for roughly five years now.

No such thing as special needs? There was a time I may have thought the same thing. And I guarantee you it was before I had children with special needs. Because every mother who has such a child can tell you the needs are real. And they are special. And they are trying and exhausting.

Yes, every child is unique, specially and beautifully created just right by God the Father. But a tremendous range of needs require a whole lot more from a mom physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That is my definition of special needs.

Instead of denying or minimizing special needs in children, let’s embrace them and then encourage each other to lean on God’s strong arms each and every day, thankful that when our strength is gone, His grace will continue, and it will be enough.

If you are Mom to a child with special needs, we are right here with you and encourage you to keep on! Jennifer Dyer has written a number of super posts seeking understanding for special needs families.

If you don’t see yourself in the special needs set, be an encourager when you meet a mom who is! You might have just the words, or the hug, she needs that day.