Mothering the Special Needs Child

by Krista Trotter, CLD

At the age of 5, Judah is a loving, happy, playful boy. He is so curious and smart. He is learning more about the world around him everyday while simultaneously bringing us into his world and showing us life in a whole new way. Just a few weeks ago, Judah played at a park for the first time in 2 years and has been more open to social outings. It’s amazing how the simplest things can me such huge milestones for our family! God has a great plan for us and we are searching out His purposes one day at a time. We want to live our lives in love and peace. I truly believe that you can’t let your circumstances define you and how you react. Autism was never a plan for our family but it has absolutely been a gift. We are very thankful for this journey that we’ve been on with Judah for the last four years.

Autism was introduced into our family around four years ago. At around nine months we realize that his speech had completely went away and his eyes were mostly gazing upwards. It was very hard to deal with we were in denial for a long time.  Our families noticed differences in him as they would see him weekly. They would mentioned to us that they felt like that Judah couldn’t hear them. So after numerous ear infections and two different surgeries for tubes we realize that he had a hearing delay. After having the tubes placed we realized it was no longer the hearing delay that was causing him to not be able to answer to his name or respond us when we talked to him. He was having so much over stimulation from the sensory processing disorder and autism that he couldn’t even pay attention to the fact that we were calling out to him.

At the age of two we had him evaluated and we received his autism diagnosis, I was also newly pregnant with our 3rd child. We went through sort of a grieving process, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. A while after receiving this diagnosis we had to come to terms with a new reality as we had to take steps to find resources to help Judah. Since then we have had wonderful therapists who poured into our lives and help us with our little boy. It has been a lot of changes for us as a very social family… social situations had to take a backseat for the special needs of our child. Church became a place that was so overstimulating for him that we had to pull out and relationships with friends slowly dwindled. Soon we were surrounded by our very supportive family as they were the ones who would give us date nights once a month or so.

Mothering a special needs child can be exhausting and very trying as I’ve spent countless hours putting Judah back in bed after many attempts to get him to sleep up-and-down, up-and-down, up-and-down. The sensory processing disorder makes it very difficult for him to be able to shut his brain off especially in nighttime hours after an overstimulating bath and his brothers laughing hysterically. We have spent many hours with services like Early Intervention, occupational therapy, and speech therapy we are very thankful for all of the services that Judah has been able to receive to help us learn how to better teach him.  We have had to help our other two boys understand and have patience with their nonverbal brother. Judah is still not potty trained but we look forward to the day when something will be a means of communication to better understand his wants and needs. For now we take his nonverbal cues such as pointing and taking us to what he needs or grunting to show us of his disapproval.

I’m very thankful for many of my friends pouring into me on the subject gentle parenting. As gentle parenting has been a great means of bringing connection and love to our special needs child. It has broadened my mind to think of things in a much deeper sense and not so surface level. 

We are very thankful that over the past 6 months we have met some amazing people, moved closer to Judah therapies, got the boys in a smaller more one-on-one school. We found a great church with such supportive, loving people. We also made friends who are accepting of our family and love our special needs child.

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