An Open Letter to the Parent of a Child with a Disability

Dear Parent of a Child with a Disability,

I saw you today at the local children’s hospital.

Your body looked worn from the long days of countless appointments, multiple doctor visits, and always being on watch for another possible seizure stealing your child away.

Your hair was pulled up in a ponytail, enabling you to always be able to react to any needed circumstances.

Your little one lay her head quietly on your lap, she, herself so worn from the past 75-hour hospital stay.

Yet, you smiled kindly on her, attempting to remain calm in such a scary place.

I myself am an individual with disabilities and long to share a few things with you.

I want you to know that sometimes we weren’t able to express our thankfulness because our minds were too overwhelmed with everything that was going on.

Yet, even though I couldn’t say thank you at the moment, I hoped that you understood.

Some of us don’t have the words and may never have the words to express how thankful we are for all that you have selflessly done for us. 

I know that being the caregiver to me can be draining and exhausting at times. But, I hope that you know how important you are to me and that I am truly appreciative of all that you do for me.

Thank you for all the times that you have driven me to different therapies, tests and doctor appointments.

Thank you for being an advocate for me when others mistreat me.

Thank you for all the kisses, hugs, and handholds that make this journey a little easier on me. 

As I close out this letter to you, please remember a handful of things.

Firstly, if I have big dreams, please allow me to dream. This world already labels me, time and time again.

Everywhere I go, I am given limitations and told what I can or can not do. Please don’t be another person who labels me.

If I say that I am going to be the first president with autism, then give me the tools to try.

If I dream of living on my own, it’s better to tell me, “let’s find a way to make that happen,” instead of saying “you can’t.”

Allow me to fall.

Every parent wants to keep their children safe and unharmed from life. But sometimes I am going to need you to allow me to fail at things.

I just need you to be there to help clean out my wounds and to wipe away my tears when my attempt at something doesn’t work.

Lastly, know that it’s okay to take time for yourself. You are so important and give yourself away so much.

Take a walk, drink your coffee on the porch or even go on a cruise. There are a lot of people out there who can help take care of me and give you a break.

You matter too.

With gratitude,
Your child with a disability

Written by, Eliza Downer

Eliza Downer, a teacher by day and writer by night, can often be found relaxing in nearby mountain ranges or sipping a cup of coffee. She currently resides in Colorado where she is working towards her degree in social work. To read more of her writings and to follow her journey, she can be found on all social media platforms.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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