The special needs parent isolation meme is spot on. "Parents of children who have invisible needs often feel isolated, judged, and frustrated until they meet other parents sharing a similar journey." - Susan Zajorik
Initially, I felt terribly alone parenting a child with severe food allergies. The appointments, special foods, millions of grocery stores to find safe foods, my own hunger at not being able to eat enough, and so much more made me feel utterly alone. I felt judged when asking about party food offerings and when asking parents not to bring food to playdates. Moreso when I said we had to do playdates at my house because I knew it was safe.
Then, Will's struggles became more pronounced and we learned he had Autism. Prior to his diagnosis, I had felt judged when I had to drag him out of stores because he was screaming uncontrollably. The piercing looks when he couldn't talk at three and four. The other parents asking what was wrong with him. In both these journeys, I had my husband who understood. Until five years ago, I didn't have a true village. I had a few friends who tried to help. One who truly did by sacrificing two hours of her week to watch my children despite their diagnoses.
Isolation, judgement, frustration are gentle words that don't do justice to the despair we feel until we find a community of people who GET IT! I am here. I GET IT!
A fellow special needs parent to climb in the hole with you. All of you. I will commiserate. I will cry. I will listen to your horror stories without judgment. I will sit with you and save space until you are ready to climb out. Then, I will help you climb out. I will help you find resources YOU need. I will help you navigate appointments, conversations, family, school.
You don't have to do it alone anymore. Reach out. Schedule an appointment with me. Comment. However you need to communicate your needs. Even if you just need a virtual hug and to KNOW someone is there, waiting for you. This is for you! No judgment. No pressure. Just...THERE.