Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's the Difference?


I was once told,
"Jack is different", by someone very dear to me. The words stung. A lot. And I had to chew on them for days before I could really wrap my head around my emotion-clouded thoughts. What was it about the word "different" that my tattooed, free-thinking, uniquely named self, fought with? My internal dialogue went something like this: Different - adjective
1.
not alike in character or quality.
2. not identical; separate or distinct.
3. various; several.
4. not ordinary; unusual.

Ding ding!


It's that last word - isn't it?
Unusual...? I hiccuped on "separate" but was mostly nodding in acceptance up until "unusual". Hear me out. When your child is unusual, you have some explaining to do. And I have. I have explained and explained til I'm blue in the face. Before Jack's delays were even apparent I was explaining....and the memory of that evoked some old wounded feelings. He was what's known as a "runner", only I didn't know back then that there was a term for it. I was always so amazed by those who could get their child out of the car and then reach for their purse or lock the doors while their little one stood by their side. Or the family who could safely play in their front yard. I unloaded my kid last from the car and held onto him with both hands, tightly. In the front yard or at a park, I played soccer goalie - Jack was the ball, and if the other "team" scored a point - Jack could be dead.

I envied the parents who could chillax while their toddler tooted around at a beach party, wedding rehearsal dinner, or neighborhood parade. I was following, appeasing, leaving early. I felt misunderstood and judged, probably even when I wasn't being judged. But let's be honest, we've all done it - silently judged the pants off some parent that isn't doing things the way you, yourself would. Well, let me tell you, I wasn't doing things the way I
would either. Life doesn't always (ever?) hand you exactly what you're expecting.

I knew Jack wasn't the same, was different. But at that time, I didn't know what was behind those differences. I didn't know that he wandered because he was dysregulated or that he cried because he was anxious. I just felt helpless. Educating ourselves and learning how to help Jack both physically and emotionally (along with the gift of time) has changed everything. Fortunately, he is no longer a "runner" and does have a sense of danger and a need to be near us/know where we are. We have gained so much insight into Jack's needs and have all learned how to reduce his anxiety. We don't feel so different anymore.


THAT is why the words stung. Because I don't feel so different anymore. Sure, Jack still has special needs. He needs help with motor skills and still has some difficulties with language. He's scripty and sometimes moody. We're past the stage of acceptance with those, so I don't view them as unacceptable. I have also met so many other parents of special needs children, I don't feel alone or misunderstood anymore either. I recently had to explain to a friend what OT (occupational therapy) was, and as I did, I was reminded that it wasn't long ago that I learned about it myself. It doesn't feel different to be taking Jack to OT, because I know how common it is and because I've accepted the need for it.


There was my true answer. When I accept something/someone, I no longer associate it as
different, it just is. There is no need to separate when you educate, learn, and accept. There is no need for everyone to be identical or the same when ALL are accepted. My desire is that we, as a family/community/society, learn to accept and embrace those who are deemed as different, because it's only then that our potential can be fully realized. If we were to focus on our strengths and similarities we would be far less distracted by the divisive nature of "differences". I hope to shed even a small amount of light on what having special needs can mean for an individual and how that relates to each of us. We all have special needs of some kind or another, so really, what's the difference?

7 comments:

  1. Definitely feeling this post. And, I owe you a few emails...they're on their way.

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  2. Can completely relate. The running away and dysregulation, inability to sit still in a class, the anxieties and moodiness. It's all linked to something, right? Still playing detective here :)

    Jill

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  3. Hey Jill - have you guys done miasms yet?

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  4. Yes, we just finished the first round of the miasms (HCH does 5 total and there is a total of 3 rounds). Not sure if we are going to finish the other 2 rounds, these were quite the challenge!

    Have you seen lots of reactions with the miasms?

    Jill

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  5. Jack is reacting a lot to the TB miasm. The other two weren't so noticeable. I think we'll probably repeat them with Jack but not for Harvey since he didn't react much and is doing well. There are 8 through heilkunst. Part of me wants to space them out since they can be tough but I also just want to get them over with!

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  6. Interesting...I wonder why the difference in amount of miasms...? Do you also do different potencies with each round? I think we are switching directions soon :)

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  7. I'm not sure on the potencies. We're still on round 1. You need to blog so I can hear about your directions! :)

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