Why Special Needs Kids Should Not Be Underestimated

Michael has always been an intuitive intelligent child. Yes, he has delays and things that he finds challenging, but he has had a sixth sense about things since he was born. He had the ability to see through people, good and bad, know who he could trust and who he couldn’t. He also gives really good advice, and lately he has been giving me especially useful advice. Today it was to take a walk which I’m so glad I did. It was beautiful, sunny and hot. Yesterday was the same. and I regret not taking advantage as it is going to rain for the next three days. He will also sense when I am upset and remind me, “time to do your deep breathing,” or “why are you mad?” He loves to bake things for friends.

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Last night bedtime was challenging. I don’t know why. When he did start cooperating and I was lying down next to him cuddling (but still a little angry), he sensed it and asked me why I was angry. I told him I wasn’t and we would talk tomorrow. Getting into things with him at night would just have turned into a fight anyway. But I was mad at myself. I thought I was doing a good job at hiding my feelings. Not from Michael I wasn’t. I can fool other people, but not my son with autism as it turns out.

This got me thinking, how often people, parents and professionals alike underestimate special needs or exceptional children. Just recently a professional had said to me how tricky it was to know how affected by autism Michael was due to his advanced language skills. He seems to be so high functioning in so many ways due to language, that assessing the autism would be challenging. I found myself feeling sad for the friends I know whose sons are less verbal than Michael, but whom I know for a fact are VERY advanced academically and very smart kids, smarter than many neurotypical children, smarter than many neurotypical adults! They are judged wrongly though as being less functional due to their language difficulties.

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Many kids with autism are savants, many have above average learning abilities in areas like music, math or science. Many are intuitive. Michael is gifted in music, intuitive, and love science and navigation on Google Maps and driving cars. His brain has a way of seeing the world that is organized, cohesive and he is direct in saying what he wants, when he wants it, and who he likes. He is a kid who loves the simple pleasures. I know many of my friends’ children are also like that. It’s time the world started seeing that too.

Exceptional Parents, how does your Exceptional Child defy society’s expectations of their abilities and even yours? How do you encourage them to do their best and do they give you good advice about people and yourself? I trust Michael’s instincts as much as my own, and I am the first one to advocate for special needs kids feelings and reactions being taken seriously. Until next time.

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