Friday, December 10, 2010

10 Things I Want My Friends to Know

My friend Brooke found this from the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children, written about having a child with special needs. I think so much of this is true. Would love to hear your thoughts!

10 Things I Want My Friends to Know

1. My life has changed, but I still want you to be my friend. We may need to be creative in thinking of new ways to spend time together.

2. Listen. I want you to know about my child and about how his life is affected by this disability. I may have days when I just need to “vent”.

3. Keep what I say confidential. As my friend, you may occasionally be my sounding board. Please respect the privacy of my family by not repeating what I say.

4. Don’t judge my child or me. Ask questions if you have concerns about the choices we have made for our child.

5. Respect my feelings. My feelings may run the gamut from desperation to hopefulness and will change largely based on what kind of day my child is having.

6. Encourage and support me. I need to hear positive feedback. Be my guest at a support group meeting, or offer to keep my child while I go.

7. I really am happy for the milestones that your children are reaching. Don’t exclude me from your celebrations; however, please understand if I am not always able to attend.

8. Ask questions. I’ll be happy that you are interested.

9. Communicate with me. Please let me know if you can or cannot help with my child. It is OK to tell me if you are uncomfortable. I need to know how you feel.

10. Be my advocate. Other friends or acquaintances may not understand or may be judgmental. You may be able to keep them abreast of my child’s progress and our family’s needs.

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