I just love Facebook memories! As I use Facebook to share my story of hope to the world, these memories are filled with beautiful and heart warming reminders of how Gian progressed throughout the years, his hard work, persistence and our conscious dedication towards him. It also reminds us of how God’s Grace pulled our family through difficult times and that we have the opportunity to again rejoice on the many victories we have celebrated with him on this 9 year journey!
Last week a very special memory popped up: an article that was shared with me by one of my fellow AUsome moms, 2 years ago. The article featured on a website called The Mighty (www.themighty.com) and written by Aletha Mshar, with the title: “Dear special needs mom, who feel invisible, I see you…”
As I read it again, I thought about Gian, being 11 now, well away to his teenage years. Unfortunately life does not get easier for them the older they get, in actual fact it becomes more difficult.
I then realised, for any child with special needs or learning disabilities not fitting the “box”, becoming older, they face new challenges. Our Moms are not by their side 24/7 anymore, guarding their hearts with an iron fist. They themselves start facing the challenges, feeling the heart ache that we tried to keep away from them for so long, feeling invisible to this competitive world…
We are now well in the month of November, the annual “prize giving month”. Social media is flooded with kids being awarded with school colours, certificates, trophies, medals and accolades being the best in sport, culture or art or being the smartest in the grade or a subject. All the parents are raving about how hard their kids worked to achieve these accolades and they get 100’s of likes and well done comments from their friends, family and teachers.
I, however cannot help feeling a bit heartbroken….
No, it does not make me sad, angry, bitter or jealous… I am happy for all of you and your kids as I know that they do work hard.
My heart is just sore for all the kids out there working so much harder just to survive and make it through the school year. Unfortunately… most likely… they might never have the opportunity to be rewarded on stage with a certificate for excellence or a medal or trophy for being the best.
Today I want to say to all those kids, I SEE YOU…..
I see how hard it is for you to get up in the morning and face a day at school, struggling to concentrate in class for more than 15-20 minutes, struggling to understand that math equation and articulate a difficult English phrase. The effort you put in everyday to do your homework and study for a test.
I see how hard it is for you to prepare for a speech and the anxiety on your face to present it in front of your teacher and class.
I see the fear in your eyes before you go to school every morning, fearing you might disappoint your teacher or parents for thinking you are not good enough, as your brain and sensory system just cannot cope on certain days.
I see you struggling through PE as, due to your low muscle tone, you just cannot keep up.
I see the pain in your tear filled eyes, when the other kids laugh at you and call you “The weird boy”.
I see your determination and fighting spirit every day, all the effort you put in to be the best you can be.
I see your breakthroughs and victories, how small it might seem. I celebrate it with you and I salute you for being you and surviving in this competitive world.
If I could, I would award each child for working so hard, but feeling invisible, with the biggest trophy there is. With a platinum certificate of bravery and the biggest gold medal for persistence and dedication that you made it through the year!
Always remember the words of Psalm 139, “You are a child of God. You are wonderfully made, dearly loved, and precious in His sight. Before God made you, He knew you…..there is no one else like you!”
Always cherish the unique way God created you, embrace it and live your dreams.
I know it is hard work and takes lots of effort and sometimes you want to give up…
but DON’T YOU DARE GIVE UP.
I firmly believe there is a place for each child in this world, whether you are getting all the rewards and A’s in school or whether you are just doing your best to pass a grade, you ARE a super star and I and many others out there are extremely proud of you!
The 17th of November marked the day when Gian was diagnosed with autism 7 years ago. Yes, our journey was and still is tough, but boy, as I look back, my heart is filled with joy.
We celebrated more victories than failures, more joy than tears, we received more love and support than rejection and Gian excelled.
All his hard work paid off.
At the moment he is writing his final exam in grade 4 and by God’s grace, and the amazing help and support from his school, teachers, and our amazing Au Pair Denielle, he should make it and maybe even be awarded with his first academic reward…..
So dear special needs child, who feel invisible to this world……
I believe in YOU, you ARE worthy, you ARE exquisite and I SEE YOU!
Gian, I SEE YOU!