Most moms of neuro-typical 14 year-olds are starting to think about them getting their  driver’s license and dating.  For the moms of many special needs kids, these rights of passage are a long way off and might not ever occur.  Every mom is proud of the accomplishments of their kids and bragging rights are expected. But for those of us who are parents of special needs kids, it takes on a different meaning.  Little things that most parents would take for granted thrill us.  Of course, the term “special needs” is a catch-all phrase so every mom’s list is different as every child’s disability is slightly different.

But here’s my bragging list.

He answered the phone properly – With the exception of when his dad calls, Spencer doesn’t usually answer the phone.  But the other day he answered the phone as the caller ID showed it was my  business colleague whom he knows.  She related to me that he had a perfect conversation with her – OK three sentences but still  – and explained that I wasn’t home.

He makes breakfast and lunch for himself – Since he’s a teenage boy and the most important thing on his mind is food, Spencer mastered this pretty quickly.  Now, if I’m still asleep he’ll make himself waffles or cereal in the morning and sandwiches or even a hot dog for lunch.

He takes out the trash without being asked – This is his chore and he knows it.  He even knows when to put the trash bins outside for the garbage collector.

He often asks if I need help when I’m cooking – Again, back to the constantly thinking about food but it’s still an offer to help!

He shovels the driveway – My husband has MS and can no longer shovel the driveway.  Thank goodness Spencer is big and strong!  Yes, it takes several instructions on which way to push the snow but he does the entire driveway.

He read a passage in church – My heart was in my throat as he walked up to the pulpit on Christmas Eve to read a passage along with four other 8th graders.  Yes, he stumbled once but his voice echoed loud and strong throughout the church.  I’m not sure who was crying more, me or his Grandma.  The most incredible feeling of pride I’ve ever had.

So, for those of you who know me and even those who don’t – when I talk about these accomplishments they might seem insignificant to you but they mean the world to me.  Please share in my enthusiasm and remember that there are other moms out there who also want to brag about their special needs’ child.

4 replies
  1. Gloria Bass
    Gloria Bass says:

    Your words are so true! When I read your story about Spencer it brought tears to my eyes as well. I know that feeling of pride when your heart feels like it is going to BURST with pride! The tears start trickling down your cheek and you don’t care who is looking at you! We have raised my husband’s twin grandson for 16 years now. (they are 19). Artie and Dean both used to tell me how beautiful I was (this was first thing in the morning when we got up) each morning I would have a lump in my throat that they loved me enough to look past the sleepy morning look!
    Yes, we have very “special people” in our lives! They have “Special Abilities”. I have learned so much from these two guys in my life. I wouldn’t change it for the world!


  2. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    I attended the Christmas Eve service with my son, and both he and I commented on what an amazing job he did! Not only in his superb delivery that rang out with confidence, but also in being seated alongside the Pastor during the service. I’m not sure I could have remained seated in front of everyone with the choir in my ear for that length of time with such poise! I had a tear or two in my eyes as Spencer read that night. Congratulations to him and to you and your family in a job very well done. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Calico
    Calico says:

    Dear Alison,

    I’m so impressed by your son’s abilities! How amazing it must have been for you to see and hear him do all of these wonderful things. We are truly blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives who teach us more than we could ever begin to teach them. I love learning about humanity and being in this world together from my own special needs daughter.

    I know exactly how proud you feel when your child does something everyone else takes for granted. It’s so much harder for them to do the things we consider “simple” and when they do them, they deserve more recognition than the movie stars and athletes who our society deems worthy of so much praise and honor. These children and adults with special needs are life’s true heroes. I think your son is a superstar!

    Thank you so much for sharing, it made my day to see the picture of your son standing in the driveway that he cleared by himself. Awesome!!!



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