Folks need to understand that children with special needs are not sick. They are not searching for a cure, just acceptance. This week is for special needs education. Ninety three percent of the people will not copy and paste this. Will you be part of the seven percent that will and will you leave it on your wall for at least an hour?

I see this paragraph appear on various people’s statuses from time to time on Facebook. I saw them crop up back in April, and I saw a couple crop up again today. I don’t know when the real Special Needs Week is, or if there even is one, really. But instead of merely putting this into my status and leaving it at that, I thought I’d contribute my thoughts to the matter.

Being a parent of a special needs child affords me more insight than your average person. Taking care of my daughter Namine requires more attention, patience, perseverance, determination, focus, hope, and above all, love. She takes longer to get ready in the morning; she takes longer to get ready for bed. She needs to sleep in Jess’s and my bedroom; she needs someone to sit beside her in the back of the car. But these needs do not define her. No, they describe her, but they do not make her who she is.

My daughter is smart, funny, amusing, loving, caring, and affectionate. My daughter loves technology (especially video games, Action Potato in particular), drawing and writing, playing with dolls, cars and trucks. She loves music, singing, and dancing. These are the things that define her. These are the things that make her who she is.

The fact that my daughter has a heart condition, a spine condition, a leg condition and more? These things are merely inconveniences. These are things that provide obstacles for her, obstacles she is overcoming even now. She has already endured two heart surgeries, and is now healthy; her posture is improving, thanks to her determination and strength; not to be slowed by her legs, she crawls around the apartment so much, we can hardly keep up with her. Namine has shown such strength and power of will, and she defies the simple description of “special needs patient.”

She is so much more.

  • Jessica

    I believe my husband has hit it right smack in the middle. And the people that think otherwise, well you’re just not educated in the physiology of a trach. :)

  • Michele Eiche

    This is so beautiful Paul. Love you ALL!