I spent a lot of time pre-Thanksgiving inviting you to share what you give thanks for about your child, and there have been some beautiful and inspirational responses to that topic. But it's also true that many parents of children with special needs feel anything but thankful, and share stories of circumstances that hurt their hearts far more than any rude remark from a relative ever could. One of the hardest things about writing a site like this one, which is charged to address all manner of special needs, is that the parenting experience can be sharply different between, say, those whose children's challenges are primarily medical and those dealing with intellectual or developmental disabilities; and even within those categories are differing philosophies and experiences. Since every child is different, it stands to reason that every parenting experience will be so, too.
Since finding common ground with other parents can be such a relief, and learning from parents who write thoughtfully about experiences that are different from ours can broaden our view, I've started a Readers Respond page on a potentially contentious topic: Would you change your child with special needs if you could? For some parents, that's going to be a slam-dunk yes; for others, changing their child at all is unthinkable; and for many many of us in between, it is, as Robert Rummel-Hudson wrote yesterday in a post on Support for Special Needs ... complicated. I invite you all to respectfully and thoughtfully share your take on this topic on the Readers Respond page. It seems like a good question to consider at a time of year that can be particularly blessed and particularly stressed. I hope to blog about your reflections and mine as the season rolls on.