Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
Now that Memorial Day, the “official” start to summer, is behind us, we are free to being planning our summer vacations and get togethers. Some of us may try Disney (although, I recommend bringing proper documentation of disability if you are going to go to Guest Services for the special pass…especially after the Manhattan Mommas admitted to using autism to get front of line privileges…). Some of us may visit family from our hometowns. Others will be PCSing to new duty stations; meeting new neighbors, new congregations, making new friends.
All of these exciting events can be unsettling and upsetting for all children in general; for special needs children in particular. We prep them with social stories, First/Then boards, photos of the new location or family members that they will meet for the first time. For children who have the cognitive ability, we let them help plan our drive route, maybe even give them a vote in which house we will rent. We talk about “how cool” the new school will be – the new friends they’ll make and how AWESOME the teachers will be.
But how, as parents, do we prep ourselves? As with all too many aspects of our lives, OUR needs fall by the wayside. OUR prep is pushed aside and we end up blindsided by details, surprises and letdowns. Usually. But, I have come up with a fool-proof plan to surviving summer. And, with a little help from my friends, we have developed a plan.
We plan to drink. A lot.
In fact, we’ve come up with a fun drinking game for parents to help them survive the dog days of summer. All you need is a jug o’rum, case of beer, or a pitcher of your favorite libation at your next family reunion or ship function; a sense of humor; a designated driver; and well-intentioned folks who talk to you about your or your child’s disability. Ready? Grab a shot glass, a SOLO cup, a goblet – or all of them, and go!
Enough of these comments and you’ll be so out of your mind, it just won’t matter any more!
In all seriousness, I’m always left wondering if I should explain my boys’ behaviors and disabilities, or if I should just nod and smile. Is the mental exertion that it would take to argue and counterpoint the other person actually arguing and telling me that I’m “doing it wrong.” Ninety-nine percent of the time it just. isn’t. worth. it.
I want to thank my good-humored bloggy pals for the suggestions:
(Pearl Clutchers, this is all in good fun – it is a jest only. I do not advocate drinking [okay, that’s not true]. I do not advocate drinking around your children [okay, that is true]. I have great respect for our recovering friends. If the booze reference bothers you, substitute chocolate. Again, this is meant as a chuckle-inducing piece. It may fail, but that is the intent. Please don’t comment that I am encouraging all parents to become alcoholics. Relax. Breathe.)
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Kelly is a Navy wife and mother to three children; 17 year old NT, 6 and 5 year old boys on the spectrum; and, since life was getting a touch boring, she’s added a newborn to the mix! Kelly has been featured in a collection of essays on special needs children entitled, “Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Children.” She can also be found at MyTidewaterMoms.com, and as a guest blogger throughout the blog-iverse. In her spare time, Kelly is the Blog Master for, and member of, the Military Special Needs Network Executive Board. You can contact her via email at KellyHafer@MilitarySpecialNeedsNetwork.com.
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