When I first met my husband, way back in high school, never, ever, did I once think that we would have a family with multiple special needs children together. Nor did I think as that young teenager, that I would carry so much responsibility as a wife, mother, and adult in general.
I have what most would consider a “big” family — there’s a total of six of us; two parents, four kiddos, ages two, six, eight, and fourteen. The youngest, a toddler boy, is rambunctious, silly, and Momma’s sidekick. Our six-year-old is in first grade, is on the Autism Spectrum, and is completely non-verbal. She’s tiny, super-sweet, and loves to cuddle. Our eight-year-old is also on the Autism Spectrum, has, ADHD, and is sassy, creative, artistic, and very energetic. And our teenager, who is about to be fifteen soon, is also on the Autism Spectrum. She’s very creative, loves to draw, and write. Yup, you read that correct, all three of my daughters are all on the Autism Spectrum. I have a big family and multiple special needs, kids.
But what exactly does that mean?
More than anything, it means that we are no different than any other family. It means that we as parents love our children to the moon and back, and want what is absolutely best for them.
We all still sit down at the dinner table and eat together. But not everyone eats the same meals, as there are sensory issues to address. And dinner often takes a really, long time. Some of the kids get extra meals, too.
We still go out and do things as a family. Often there are loud undiscernable utterances, dancing, spinning and running about. But sometimes, there are also meltdowns, and we have to leave promptly in the middle of the event.
We are both a big family and one with multiple kids with special needs. We love our children, are experts on them, and how their diagnosis has affected them individually. We are their number one advocate. We go to all the doctor’s appointments, IEP meetings, and therapies. Just in our case, there’s more of them.