It’s far from a secret that our oldest child, Thomas is special needs. He is not autistic, a question everyone asks since that is probably one of the largest populations of special needs persons. Thomas is verbal but speech impaired he does have a disorder that causes the speech impairment but to be honest I forget the technical speech pathology term it’s called. He isn’t that hard to understand if you just listen. Thomas has other diagnosis’ that affect his behavior. The one that impacted Tommy and I the most was when we were told that Thomas has “static encephalopathy” which essentially means he has brain damage that won’t get worse and won’t get better. We were not given a cause of the brain damage. We were told it could have happened while I was pregnant, during delivery, we will never know. We didn’t find that out until Thomas was 12 years old. It wasn’t for lack of trying to find out what was going on or lack of specialists. There were some doctors that we saw; some that as God as my witness I don’t know how they still have a license: they were incompetent in my not so humble opinion. I would have had more respect if any of them said plainly, “I don’t know what’s wrong with your child, here’s a referral”. That’s pretty much what Thomas’ main psychiatrist did. He could not explain all of what what going on with our son so he referred us to an amazing neurologist. No one (especially no other neurologist) was as thorough as Dr. Arnold Gold, neurologist extraordinaire from Cornell Hospital, way uptown in God’s country Manhattan. He gave my son such a neurological exam the likes we hadn’t ever seen before. Between that exam, taking an extensive history from us and studying CT and MRI reports, this doctor knew what he was talking about.
When you put Thomas’ diagnosis’ and special needs aside he’s sweet and funny and affectionate and pretty happy. However there are times he’s not so happy and sweet. I’m not talking about, “well not everyone is in a good mood all the time” scenario. I’m talking an extreme bad mood where he curses, blames everything that is wrong in his world on me and will raise his hand to me. I have been hit by my own child. I’ve not hit him back ever. I think that’s one of the most difficult things ever in my world I’ve had to deal with; that my son has hit me. I am not going into all the details. I still defend him, he’s still my son, still mine. And will always be.
I guess my point of writing this post is to uncover what is hidden and not often talked about; by me anyway. It’s easy to see my son in pictures on Facebook and love that he’s so happy. He has an awesome genuine smile. Believe me I am thrilled for him to be happy. God has given my son many gifts. One of which is resilience; the ability to adapt and adjust to change. If it weren’t for his resilience we wouldn’t have been able to get him the help he needed when we exhausted all the avenues we ran through during the times when Thomas lived at home.
I adore all my children. However it’s my girls who have shown me the “typical life.” Through them I have been able to experience the good, bad and sometimes difficult parts of parenting children without special needs. Thomas has shown me one world and the girls have shown me another. I think I’ve gotten the best of both.