I didn’t grow up knowing any kids with special needs other than Adam, a regular at a resort our families visited every summer. He was cognitively impaired. Kids made fun of him. I’m embarrassed to admit that I did, too; my parents had no idea. They were wonderful parents, but they never thought to have a conversation with me about kids with special needs.
Then I had my son, Max; he suffered a stroke at birth that lead to cerebral palsy. Suddenly, I had a child who other kids stared at and whispered about. And I so wished their parents talked to them about kids with special needs.
Because nobody got the parenting memo, sometimes moms and dads aren’t sure just what to say. I totally understand; if I didn’t have a kid with disabilities, I’d also feel at a loss. So I reached out to moms of kids with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and genetic conditions to hear what they wished parents would teach their children about ours. Consider it a guide, not a bible!