What is the reality of parenting a child with special needs?

It involves hearing remarks like, “There’s something going on in there. I can tell!” when someone observes your child. It means attending numerous specialist appointments being asked by the doctor to confirm that your child has Down syndrome, and when you confirm that they in fact do, they respond with “I wanted to make sure because I didn’t get a good look at her face.” As if to say my child’s face, the way she looks, will tell this doctor all she needs to know about Kay.

It’s the repetitive calls to specialists, ensuring your child is seen and your concerns are acknowledged.

From the moment a Down syndrome diagnosis is suspected, we’re told to expect less. Medical professionals apologize prematurely for a life our child hasn’t even begun, saying things like, “I’m sorry, but your unborn child has Down Syndrome.” They follow up by asking about terminating the pregnancy and listing all the potential limitations our child might face.

However, what I’ve learned is that there are people who recognize your child’s worth just by looking at them. Yet, there are others who make uninformed comments, unaware of how incredible our children truly are.

Parents within the special needs community advocate tirelessly, hoping that one day such advocacy won’t be necessary. We dream of a world where the words “I’m sorry” are no longer uttered when discussing our child’s diagnosis and where negativity on social media fades away. We want the world to see our amazing children just as they are—beautiful.

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