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    12 Things Parents Of Kids With Disabilities Want You To Know

    "Never apologise to us."

    Recently, we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share what they wanted people to know about parenting a child with a disability. The submissions focused on different aspects of the experience and here are some of the most powerful responses.

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    1. We don't ignore our friends and family on purpose.

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    We don't deliberately break plans, we don't mean to make people feel like we don't care about them. But the reality is — even with the best of planning, if something goes wrong, we need to throw everything out and focus on our child.


    2. People make us out to be martyrs, when we're not.

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    No special needs parent wanted this life. We all dreamed the same as you did during pregnancy and those dreams weren’t hoping for the hard road. So don’t make us out to be martyrs or chosen for this deal, because it sucks. Instead, be grateful for your own abilities and empathetic, not sympathetic, towards our family.


    3. Each little milestone is a magical moment to be treasured and celebrated.

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    My daughter has 22q deletion syndrome. I have learned that each little milestone is less of a milestone and more of a magical moment to be treasured and celebrated. The 22q journey isn't one we chose to take, but we sure do love our tour guide.


    4. We'll never place limitations on them and neither should you.

    @jessicas139 / Via

    My son is so much more than his diagnoses, and I’ll never place limitations on him and neither should you. Everyday we have him is a huge gift. We are never out of woods. We constantly fear his heart will give up, or he won’t make it out of open heart surgery or even die from the flu. But this will never stop us from giving him the absolute world.


    5. Our children give us the courage and the strength to keep fighting for them.


    They will surprise and amaze you every day. I was ready to give up, but his strength gave me the courage to keep fighting. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for him.


    6. We learn from our children that people are happiest being unapologetically themselves.


    My son is 12 years old, but he has an intellectual disability and a lot of Autism characteristics. He's basically a six-year-old in a 12-year-old body. He still likes things for really young kids, like Sesame Street and Dora, and doesn't care one bit if it's cool or not.


    7. Our children may need support, but they certainly don't need "fixing".


    As a parent to a toddler with congenital permanent hearing loss, in two short years of immense lows and limited highs, the wins shine brighter than any other win in my life.

    Now — when kids or adults ask me why my little one wears hearing aids — I own it and explain it in a positive light so one day, when my son is older, he too will feel pride in himself and see himself as I see him: Wonderful and exactly who he is supposed to be.


    8. Never apologise to us.


    Never, ever, ever do this. Having specific needs does not make the person a burden. We are blessed to have that person in our lives and are so proud of them.


    9. You'll learn you have more strength in you than you know.

    @jasminkarojaso / Via

    My son was born with Trisomy 18. While he was with us, he defied what the doctors expected. He wasn’t supposed to make it inside the womb, but he did. He was aware of things around him, was charismatic and taught me that I had more strength in me than I knew I had. Even though he’s not here, I will always advocate for children with the same conditions that he had because he would want me to bring awareness and support other parents too.


    10. You are not wrong for feeling angry or upset or disappointed with how your parenting journey turned out.


    You have to advocate for your child, but first — and this is my experience — you gotta be able to let yourself be angry. It’s okay to feel like you got saddled with a burden for which you were unprepared! It’s true, you did! So did I! Be angry, be overwhelmed, feel all the feelings so you can actively parent your child.


    11. Don't let their lives or yours revolve solely around their disability.


    Raising a child with a disability is a lot of work. It is vital that you don’t lose perspective. Don’t confuse who your child is and what you feel for them with the work that is required to raise them. It is not your child's identity or your family's only purpose in life.


    12. At its core, your job is like that of any other parent — to give them all the love and support and sacrifice required so they can become all they were meant to be.

    Democratic National Convention

    I think we need to remember that when our babies came into our lives, we signed up for the possibility that they might have a disability, or be neurodivergent or maybe just need extra help. As parents, our job is to accommodate our kids' needs so they can grow into their potential.


    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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