Today’s post is near and dear to my heart. The Jelly Telly blog is featuring my writing today, and it’s a topic I don’t want you to miss. I hope you can click over and read it, but even more–I hope your family can choose one or two of the suggestions and reach out to a family with special needs this week.
I am sharing the beginning of the post below, and then you can click over to find my 10 suggestions over at the Jelly Telly blog. Hope you enjoy, and as always it I appreciate it when share with your friends and family as well. Mahalo–
There’s no way around it: Raising kids is a lot of work. There’s a lot of truth in the African Proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”Sure, we are all responsible to raise our own kids well, but I often think: Where would we be without all of the amazing people in our family’s life? From extended family, to neighbors, to teachers and coaches…and those friends who love us – quirks, inconveniences, and all.
Though we all require a bit of extra love at times, a family with special needs children will have unique needs that may not be clear to everyone. Unless you’ve spent time with them and learned about their life, you may never know what their needs are, or how you might best support them.
And here’s the thing: When we are around a family with special needs, we might get uncomfortable. If you’re like me you might sometimes freeze up and think: What should I say? What shouldn’t I say? Should I help or am I just in the way? How can I best be a friend in this situation?
And sadly, our own awkwardness can sometimes get in the way of us supporting them, and finding great blessings along the way.
My 14-year-old nephew, Micah, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is wheelchair-bound. I don’t get to spend as much time with him as I would like to, but when we are together I try to push through any of my own awkwardness to connect with him. I’m sure I’ve done it wrong a few times, but when I do make those connections, I find myself more blessed than any blessing I could give. I have learned a little about what it takes to care for a child with DMD (a ton of work, patience, and love)…which things are hard for them (um, helping him use the bathroom…lift a fork…transporting him. Pretty much everything!) And I am reminded which things about him are completely typical of a boy his age (He loves to laugh. He wants to be around other kids. He loves Legos.) I have grown a lot from the little time I have spent with him.
Though special needs families have a wide range of unique needs, there are a few things you can be sure will bless them. I have asked some of my friends with special needs children: “What is the best way for friends to show your family love?”
CLICK HERE to find my list of 10 ways to love on families with Special Needs–
PS To read more about my nephew’s story and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, you can visit this page where I share his story (in two parts) and link to my posts about the crazy NYC Marathon I ran to support DMD. Aaaand: One more post I wrote on the topic a couple years ago: Meeting special needs families: What do you say?
PPS If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you become a regular visitor (subscribing is easiest!) over at Jelly Telly. I had just begun learning about Jelly Telly when I signed up to become a regular contributor, and now I feel so honored to be a part of that team! I have found so many helpful and informative posts by a number of great writers at Jelly Telly…also family devotions, movie reviews, and of course their great app. with countless family friendly programs that your kids will love. After you read my 10 suggestions, I hope you’ll click around the Jelly Telly site!