"Momma, they expect me to be someone I cannot be." - by Christy

Published on 8 May 2022 at 23:46

Mr. I's school days dwindled by the age of eight, and he went years without attending public school due to his aggression and stability. His disorders had overtaken his small body and mind. His actions were overly irrational. We were frantically trying to do everything to help him find calm. His sensory overloads and struggles with regulating were too far beyond his control.  His outbursts and aggression had increased, and he began to feel like a bad kid among his peers. His medications at the time played mind games with him, and he became increasingly suicidal and homicidal, as well as beginning to hallucinate.  Through it all, I realized that the most valuable piece was missing from within myself. My very special child taught me the most valuable lesson. We have spent the last few years working hard to teach him how to use his words. He lacked the understanding to express his emotions and thoughts in words. He believed that his thoughts could be seen. He simply believed that everyone knew what he was thinking. 
 After four years of exhausting service, he achieved stability. He had regained his self-confidence and was ready to start again. He was eager to show everyone who he was, but he was terrified. His school was hesitant to accept him back for the academic year 2021-2022. He was ready, so there was no stopping us now.
We worked hard and made many changes in our lives.  He felt ready, at 12 years old, and the only thing holding him back was his school's preparation for him. We had a lot of work to do. 

I was asked to pick him up early shortly after he returned to school. When I arrived, he fell to the stairs at the front door and began to cry. He said, "I don't want to go, momma, they're making me." I sat beside him and asked, "What happened, buddy?" He responded, "They're trying to make me be someone I cannot be." These were the most powerful words I have ever heard, spoken by my son. He was doing exactly what we taught him to do! These words resonated deeply with me.

It was not until this point that I realized how much I would changed myself and my life during this long journey of researching and learning about my child. I have changed myself to accommodate his needs and I will have to keep changing as he grows. Adapting does not imply giving in; rather, it entails exploring new ways to work around your child's triggers or stressors in order to ensure their success in life. Through him, I became an advocate, and I had no idea how much he had taught me until that moment. It was not until I learned to accept my child for who he was that we were able to adjust our lives, our home, our friends, and life as we knew it. My initial goal was to fix and improve my child. There is always room for teaching and assisting, but he did not require fixing. It was me. My child is perfectly normal in his own uniqueness. I needed to discover strengths I was previously unaware of. I needed to find my voice, as I did not have one. My child created me, an advocate who wants to help other families. Through my own experiences, I have become someone who teaches the world to understand and adapt to children with special needs. It isn't the children who need to be fixed, it is the world that must understand. Yes, I believe that special children form special families. Those advocates will be the changemakers in this world.

Not all children can say those words, as mine did. It is up to us to communicate them.

When we talk about our life experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, we can effect change.  Today, I ask, "Stop raising awareness." It is time to RAISE OUR VOICES and BE THE CHANGE.

I have attached a photo of us. I tend to consider it to be my son and me, looking through the picture, no one else can see but us. There are numerous frames, all of which vary in size. It is up to us mothers to paint their picture in order to change the perspective of those who do not understand that "great minds do not always think alike."