When You Know One Special Needs Mom…

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.

A few weeks ago I went to a party. Now, it’s not often that I get to go out to a party on a Saturday night. And it’s certainly not often that I attend a party where I know no one other than the host. And as friendly as I am – I can be quite shy. I’m not good at walking up to strangers at a party and striking up a conversation. I can very easily hold up any wall.

But I really like the woman (another special needs mom who has been so helpful in my journey) who invited me and it was an opportunity to get out. When my husband dropped me off, I assured him I wouldn’t be home late. “I’ll be home before before eleven.”

I entered the apartment and kissed the host hello. I scanned the room even though I knew I wouldn’t recognize anyone. There were couples and clusters of friends in almost every corner. I poured myself a glass of wine and pretended to examine the art on the walls. (Thank goodness, my host had a beautiful collection to keep me occupied.)

A few awkward smiles and hellos to strangers later – I was ready to call it a night and be home in time to kiss my son Norrin goodnight.

Then my host started handing out stickers to some of the guests – on the stickers were 3 letters, “SNB” (Special Needs Board). It was a way for guests to identify other special needs parents. (Brilliant!)

Within minutes I was chatting with a couple whose son attended the same school as my son. Then I started talking to another  couple. By the time the party was in full swing – I was laughing with a group of women. All special needs moms. We shared our stories, exchanged advice, complained about the NYC school bus strike.

The thing I love about meeting another special needs mom for the first time is that automatic comfort level. The ability to have a conversation without having to stop and explain a term or acronym. That feeling that someone understands.

I had such a good time, I didn’t leave until close to midnight.

So the next time you’re invited to a party hosted by a special needs mom and you’re on the fence about going because you think you won’t know anyone. GO! Because if you know one special needs mom – you know a network of special needs moms.  And it feels good connecting with a network who gets you.

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  1. by MizKp

    On February 20, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Good to hear that you had a great time. Special needs parents share a unique bond. I had a similar experience last year. It was awkward at first but I found my way into a conversation with some other special needs moms who were talking about the Turning 5 process. I was going through the same at the time. I love this line from your post: “…Because if you know one special needs mom – you know a network of special needs moms.”

  2. by Niksmom

    On February 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

    What a great experience! And so spot on that you know a network of SN moms –even if you’ve never met them!

  3. by Maureen Finaldi, M.S

    On March 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I am also a special needs mom. I love your site and was wondering if you would be willing to share a story of yours on mine. My agenda is simply to share stories that provide comfort to other parents of children with special needs. My story is on their titled special needs mom;s club.
    Let me know if you would be interested. I would print your name if you wanted and provide information on how to reach back to you.
    I am also a special needs advocate.