There are many things I could list that make life for me that little bit easier as a SEND parent – from Firefly shopping trolley seats and adequate Changing Places to the new chair Brody received from his Physio and Occupational Therapist to eat meals in (it’s a game changer). Let’s not forget Disney Pixar you evil genius you – Toy Story, Monster Inc/University and Cars have been life savers too.
But the thing that helps the most is people – family, friends and even strangers – just getting it.
There are always going to be people in your life when you’re a parent to a child with disabilities, who just don’t understand, listen or have an ounce of empathy. They live in their disability free bubble and well – that’s them and that’s life. But boy am I grateful for the ones that are really there for us – they just make life so much easier…
The family members who offer endless love, support and help.
The best friend who remembers every appointment and gets that sometimes you can talk about the harder things easily and sometimes you just need to cry, whilst not talking at all.
The empathetic health professional who seeks answers and listens – not talking at you like your child is another undiagnosed science project on their list – but a human being.
That SEND Mum or Dad you walk past, who gives you that “I’m with you Mama” glance.
The nursery or school staff who work hard to understand your child’s needs and provide the best possible care away from home whilst at the same time keeping them happy (and giving you a break).
The stranger in the supermarket who smiles and returns a wave, acknowledging your son or daughter. And the ones that don’t give you judgmental stares when they’re having a meltdown or making noises.
The SEND Mummy’s we meet along the way, through nursery, school and groups, who make you feel less isolated and more like your normal is, well – normal.
The guys that make the quotes that hang on our walls and fill our Facebook newsfeeds, tapping into our feelings so accurately (no, not you nothing tastes better than skinny feels).
And the Facebook groups where virtual strangers – near and afar – share their ups, downs and “been there” advice. We are an Army.
So, listen up people! Being kind really can make all the difference. And it costs nothing.