(Disclosure: I am proud to be working with Brawny® on a series of sponsored posts as they inspire people to be “Tough to the Core.”)
When I first entered the world of special needs parenting a few years ago I was scared and lonely. I only personally knew three other people who had children with special needs and only one lived near me. It wasn’t until I started talking about it and researching Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder that I found a whole community online and I suddenly didn’t feel so alone. I connected with other parents in Facebook groups, even creating my own for moms of children with SPD. I had hundreds of moms that I could go to with questions, share my concerns and that would join me in rejoicing over the smallest steps forward.
Recently I went through some struggles when I had to transfer my children to a new school district. It was hard and I felt like I was having to fight for my children to get the services they deserved. The main thing that got me through was knowing that I was doing it for my children but there was a part of me that thought about all the other parents doing the same thing for their children. Whether we know each other or not, we are part of a community and we inspire others around us and help them stay strong, even when they don’t feel like they have any energy to keep fighting. I felt empowered to advocate for my children and developed strength I didn’t even know I had.
On top of people I met online, I discovered numerous blogs about parenting children with special needs. I can relate to many of the stories they write so I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
24/7 Modern Mom: Alicia writes about many topics, including being a mother of triplets who have Autism. Anytime I am having an issue with special education or anything else she is always there encouraging me and I’m so thankful she is part of my online community. She wrote about the struggles many of us face on the weekends in her Autism is Hardest on Saturdays post. She also shared the painful story about her kids not being invited to birthday parties, a story that I could relate to because I’ve been in similar situations numerous times before.
Lemon Lime Adventures: Dayna’s website is the resource that I wish I would have had when the words “Sensory Processing Disorder” were first spoken to me. She covers everything from the basics of what SPD is to sensory friendly activities to sharing relatable stories about her own child. She even created Project Sensory and the Sensory Fix™ Toolkit.
Flappiness Is: This blogger has written some wonderful posts, including a series of open letters. She has a letter to the person staring at her child in the grocery store and a letter to her friends. I’m a fan of these letters and have discovered that they are more for us to get our thoughts out than they are for the people who will probably never read them. I wrote my own to my son’s social worker and it’s probably the most in-depth I’ve been about my children.
Anytime I think life is just too hard or I’m not sure what I’m going to do to get through things I think of those parents with special kids who walk this journey with me. If I’m struggling with a situation at my kid’s school or anything else comes up I reach out to other parents for motivation, ideas and support as I learn to navigate our new normal.
My online community inspires me to be tough. Who inspires you?
Want more information on how to be tough to the core? Check out the inspiration video series featuring Everyday Heroes from Brawny®: http://www.brawny.com/tough-to-the-core