Getting kids out the door to the bus every morning can be challenging enough for most families. However, when kids have special needs, the challenge is even greater. Parents of kids who have special needs perform a delicate dance each day – taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.
One day when I told Levi to make his lunch, he ignored me and kept playing. I set the timer and again instructed him to get his lunch made. This time he came out of his room and threw a few choice words my way. “Levi, you have five minutes to make your sandwich. If you don’t, I’ll put a roast beef sandwich in your lunch kit for you.” (He is particular about his lunches and does NOT like roast beef sandwiches.) With a minute to spare, his sandwich was in his lunch kit. His older sister even had him smiling and singing along to a silly song from a Paddington Bear movie.
As soon as I showed up with Levi’s hearing aids, the smile vanished. He covered both ears with his hands. “Levi, why don’t you want your hearing aids in today?” No response. I lifted his hand off his left ear and immediately an elbow took its place. “Levi, I need you to tell me why you don’t want your hearing aids in.” Still no response. I remembered the school was having some issues with his FM system – more than one piece of equipment on the same radio frequency, resulting in Levi hearing instructions from another classroom. “You need to wear one hearing aid today. Your right one doesn’t have the FM on it. How about if I put that one in for you?” He peeked at me, still not totally convinced. However, he did allow me to put the right hearing aid in.
“Time for jackets!” Four kids raced for jackets. Levi marched to his room. I helped my youngest daughter and then went looking for Levi. He was still in his room. As I entered, Levi hit the floor, crawling under the bed. I caught him and sat him on my lap. “Buddy, it’s time to go to school.” He shook his head. All morning he had been telling me by his actions that he didn’t want to go to school. Time was ticking. I knew the bus was coming. What should I do?
I shot up a quick prayer, and then told Levi we needed to go to the bus. He walked beside me, silent. Ahead of us the other children frolicked and played. A few minutes later the bus pulled up. I hugged Levi and glanced at his face. Tears dripped off his chin, but he marched onto the bus.
My heart was heavy as I turned back towards the house. “Lord, did I do the right thing today? Thank you that you’re with Levi. Please help him to have a good day.”
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Levi came home all excited about a new project at school. Whew!
Perhaps you have a friend who has a child with special needs. Here are things I find helpful:
- Ask your friend how you can pray for her and her child.
- Provide a listening ear. Sometimes your friend may just need to vent.
- Learn about the child’s special needs. If you feel comfortable and have the skills, offer to provide respite for your friend so she can do something she enjoys.
What other suggestions do you have?
Ruth L. Snyder is happiest when she writes regularly. Ruth enjoyed taking the Tribe Writers course and just began the Audience Business Masterclass. Her favorite topics are walking with God, children, adoption, special needs, parenting, healthy living, and technology. Ruth invites you to enjoy more of her writing and photography at http://ruthlsnyder.com.