Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Value of "Special Needs" Friends

Since the boys' diagnoses we have been very lucky in that the people who were really our friends before this have been supportive and we have been able to keep in touch.  My mommy friendships remain intact for the most part.   I can't say that Jack is really "friends" with his playgroup buddies of the past.  He does have a difficult time connecting with kids in the typical way.  He struggles with it, and it can be hard to watch, as I have mentioned in the past.  I have one friend from back in nursing school who makes an effort to have her daughter play with special needs kids- she wants her daughter to be an accepting person.  Granted, my friend is just an extraordinary person herself, but I appreciate her so so much.  She even came to the roar for autism event for Kennedy Krieger with us last year, heck, she suggested it. 

That being said, there is just something about having another special needs family to interact with.  An immediate feeling of acceptance.  There's no need to explain any of your kids' behaviors.  Even if they are different from the other child's, the parents get it.  I also enjoy TACA meetings for this reason- we talk about poop, poop smearing, spitting, biting, hitting, like we're talking about legos.  And I'm down with that. 

We are fortunate to have connected with the family of one of Nate's ABA classmates.  I think the mommies benefit from this more than anyone else, but I know that it does all of us a world of good to feel just a little less alone in this situation.  We went to a birthday party for this family over the weekend- just me and Jack since Nate was sick.  First of all, Jack was enthralled because we were on a military base- he came home and told John he saw soooo many planes all over the place.  Yeah, we didn't see any, but we all know where Jack's mind goes.  He was starstruck at the inspection station.  Anyway, I am always nervous to take Jack to a party- but a bit less so for this one.  I have always appreciated that some of our friends try to accomodate the boys' diets, as I am perfectly willing to bring our own little cooler, and have done so many times at this point.  I didn't need to do this for this party- but on top of that this mom BAKED gluten free cupcakes.  I don't do that!!!!  I go to a bakery. 

And here are the huge signs that your host knows what's up.  You get a message that you can bring your kids whenever (ie, early) in case they need some time to adjust to their surroundings.  No one bats an eye when, because he is excited, your kid starts flapping his arms.  The hosts ask if Jack will be ok with it before they blow up a big bounce house in the living room (he was thrilled).  Oh and here's a biggie, the host mom smiles like it's endearing when your kid screams because she uses the flash on her camera and tells her to stop that.  And you know that she is truly not annoyed.  Jack felt comfortable there- I could tell.  Who knows, maybe he was reacting to my lack of tension.  He played with other kids, he interacted with the adults (and demonstrated his vast knowledge of WWII aircraft), he ate an astounding number of rice krispie treats.  He did a pretty good job over all- no meltdowns, always a plus.  So this is my thank you to that family- for being so thoughtful and considerate.  It really did make a difference and Jack had a great time.  And what a sweet and polite birthday girl too!

1 comment: