Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Becoming the family of a child with special needs

Peter has been living with us for nearly a week now, and we've been spending the time getting to know each other and starting to build trust. We're trying to keep food and routines as similar as possible to the ones he was used to at his previous carers, and will make gradual changes over time as he settles in. Considering how big a change the move has been for him, he's doing fantastically well.

The hardest thing for us so far (apart from the fact that a 4 year old has lots of energy and doesn't nap!) has been nothing to do with Peter at all, it's been the reactions of others. Peter is developmentally delayed at the moment - he still uses a buggy whenever we leave the house, wears nappies, only says a few words, and using a dummy has been one of his coping mechanisms when he feels tired or overwhelmed. We're not concerned about any of this, and know that he will progress in time at his own pace, but it has been a bit of a shock to see so many people staring and giving us judgemental looks when they see us pushing a 4 year old in a buggy with a dummy in his mouth. We've even had some ignorant and outrageous comments from professionals who should really know better.

Thankfully there have also been a few lovely people, such as the lady at the soft play cafe who took time out of her day to try and connect with Peter, or the train driver who leaned out of his window to talk to us, and then honked the horn especially for Peter as the train left the station!

It's definitely a steep learning curve for us, and Peter is being very patient whilst we learn!

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