Let’s Talk More About Kids With Special Needs

I was on a plane when I started poring over the April issue of Parents magazine. The cover features beautiful siblings, 3-year-old Chloe and 5-year-old Daniel. Both have autism. It’s not every day that you see children with autism on the cover of a national magazine (though Parents, to their credit, had a cover last February featuring a girl with spina bifida). I let out a little “Yeah!” The stranger sitting next to me gave me a look, then tried to read over my shoulder as I flipped to the section on page 61: Life In A Special-Needs World. I hoped he did get an eyeful.

The pages were filled with information and inspiration about kids with special needs, along with profiles of kids with cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, spina bifida, and sensory processing disorder, and the results of a poll of nearly 500 parents. One finding I particularly loved: 73 percent of moms whose kids have special needs have talked to their children about people with special needs. Meanwhile, 81 percent of moms of typically developing kids have had that discussion.

How awesome is that?

When I was growing up, there wasn’t much discussion about kids with special needs. Unless you had a family member or friends with disabilities, chances are it didn’t come up. We’ve come a long way since then, a good thing for my son (Max has cerebral palsy) and ones like him. Still, unless you have a child with special needs, it’s impossible to know what parenting one is like—both the challenges as well as the many ways that our kids are just like any other. Parents’ series of informational videos spotlighting kids with special needs helps showcase that, including Life With Down Syndrome starring Siobhan O’Shea and her family.

Life With Down Syndrome
Life With Down Syndrome
Life With Down Syndrome

This section is a great read whether or not you have a child with special needs. I hope the magazine’s amazing coverage of kids with special needs gets yet more conversation going about them. In order for our kids to become truly integrated in society, there needs to be more awareness of their awesome-ness. Take a sec and let editor-in-chief Dana Points know what you think—dana@parents.com.

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