Why, Yes! Families of Kids With Special Needs Can Be Happy

99 percent of parents who have kids with Down syndrome love their children.

97 percent of parents who have kids with Down syndrome are proud of their children.

79 percent of parents who have kids with Down syndrome say their outlook on life is more positive because of them.

These are some of the not-shocking results of a survey that’s going to be published in the October issue of the American Journal of Medical Genetics; 2,004 parents weighed in. The purpose was to gather info to share during prenatal counseling sessions with expectant couples who’d been told they were having a child with Down syndrome.

I say “not shocking” because if you have a kid with special needs, you already know all of this. As one of the survey participants said, when asked what advice they’d offer to a couple expecting a child with DS, “The joy their child will bring will be just like the joy that any child brings to a family.”

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. As if. Parents in the survey spoke of the hardships, everything from needing extreme patience to doing battle with school systems and insurance company.

But is life challenge-free for any family out there?

Exactly.

It’s just the way the world sometimes perceives family with kids of special needs: They think there is some major happiness deficit.

Me, I see it in the eyes of friends, neighbors, coworkers. The pity. The feeling that I am a mom who lost out or that we are a less happy family than others because we have a child with special needs.

Let me just say, our family is not the least bit bliss disabled. We have good times, just like any other family does—we joke around, visit parks and zoos, go on vacation, the whole fun shebang. My husband and I take great pride in Max’s achievements, like any parents and child. And do we love him? WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT?!

I am sure that couples who find out they are having a child with special needs are very, very scared. I don’t know what it’s like to go through that; we learned Max would have special needs only after he was born. But still: It’s sad the world needs surveys to prove that children with special needs can bring much happiness—and be loved.

Here’s hoping that parents like us who spread the word about our children will help change these perceptions.

 

From my other blog:

Hello, World, My Child Is Not A Tragedy 

Please Don’t Pity My Child With Special Needs

Spare Us The Pity Stare

 

Photo/DimitriS 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. by Debbie K.

    On October 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I have a close friend who terminated a pregnancy several years ago because her baby had tested positive for DS and they were given a very short window in which to make a decision. She’s never forgiven herself.

    I became pregnant for the first time at 44 and people warned me that I could have a child with Downs, but I wanted him anyway. Who’s to say what “perfect” is anyway? Turns out our boy is high-functioning autistic. We have our challenges, but he’s the light of our lives. I wouldn’t change a thing about him! A parent’s heart will love a child no matter what!

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