I shared in an earlier post titled, The Shame of Having A Child With Special Needs , that I was ashamed of sharing that my child had special needs. Telling others about my child was difficult, especially when it came to making friends.
I remember meeting a young woman at my church. One day, as we were chatting on the phone, she asked me about Nate. She wanted to know his age, grade, and the school he attended. These questions were normal, but it bothered me. I timidly shared that Nate was 6 years old, yet when it came to sharing his grade and school, I wondered if she would understand. At the time, Nate was in a non-graded class and he went to a private school for children with special needs. I wasn’t sure of her reaction to hearing that my son didn’t go to one of the neighborhood schools.
I began to feel an uneasiness by the questions, as if she was prying into my life. Yet, I knew she wasn’t. She was sincere, and was asking questions that people ask when they are trying to get to know a person.
I remember slowly sharing with her that my son had special needs and of course, as I had learned from her personality, she was going to ask more questions. Suddenly she was asking about his diagnosis, his abilities, and more. She asked to come over to meet my son, which I cautiously agreed. When she arrived, she wasn’t fearful of Nate, she didn’t mind that he had special needs. As our friendship grew, I would say that she grew to love and care for my son, as a friend would.
From that experience, the uneasiness of sharing my son’s special needs became easier. I understood even more that, this is Nate, this is our life and there is no reason for me to hide.
I also began to see that sharing Nate was good. It would show me the heart of people, eliminating those who can not accept my son, and keeping only those friends that are sincere.
So, let go of the uneasiness of sharing your child. Give people a chance. Sharing will help you build friendships and relationships, with those who will learn to care and love, both you and your child.