This isn’t Italy.

I have been considering getting Colin on some waiting lists for ABA therapy. I have a friend that I’ve known for about 20 years, but haven’t talked to since high school who mentioned on her facebook that she’s an ABA therapist. So I messaged her and asked her about therapy and if Colin may benefit from it. She said she’s biased, but she thinks that it could really benefit him, especially early intervention.

I posted in a special needs moms group I’m in on facebook, and there were a few girls who commented saying that their children benefited a lot. They let me vent, and they could relate to what I was saying. I can’t really express the relief I feel being able to relate to other mothers. I feel like I’m in a different world sometimes. I’m a mom, and I relate to other moms on some things. We’re all tired. We all watch the same cartoon 500 times a day. But we don’t all watch our 3 year olds isolate, hit, bite, scratch and scream at us. We don’t all cry when our children make friends, because making friends is “normal.” We don’t all listen our child repeat themselves until we repeat the word back. We don’t all anxiously await appointments that will tell us that our child isn’t “normal.” Or have a calendar of weekly speech, occupational, ABA, etc therapies. There are so many things that make parenting a special needs child completely different from parenting a neurotypical child, and while I love all my mom friends, sometimes I just need some special needs moms. And I didn’t even know I needed them until now.

It’s really hard to explain to someone who couldn’t possibly understand. It’s a different side of parenting. A different world. My friends will often try to give me parenting advice, and it’s just not the same. There’s no way they could possibly know what to tell me and I think we both kind of feel helpless. They wish they could help, and I just wish they would stop saying the wrong thing. Except, they don’t know they are. They can’t possibly know that “hey, at least he’s talking, right?” would be the wrong thing. Or “he’s spoiled, you just have to stick with it,” would be the wrong thing. “See? He’s so smart. He’s not autistic.” Or even, I had a friend tell me “you are his mom, and only you can give him the best care, you don’t need any therapies.” She meant well, but she’s wrong, and she doesn’t even know it.

The girls who commented on my post and I have decided to meet tomorrow with our boys. I’m hopeful that it will go well. We’re going to have a picnic at the park, and Colin has been obsessed with picnics lately. He makes us eat dinner on the living room floor to have a “picmic” with him. It’s adorable. I think he’ll really enjoy it, and I need to be with other moms. And I really need to be with moms who understand.

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