The Fight for a Special Needs Child


The silent battle in raising a child with special needs.

The fuel that makes our stomachs churn and our hearts break.

We know our babies more than anyone else. We know how they smelled as a newborn; what their sloppy toddler kisses felt like. We know how their infant body felt warm pressed against ours at all hours of the night. We know the joy in their eyes on Christmas morning.

We simply know every corner of our children.

So why can’t others see it?

Ever since my son was tiny, I have been fighting. I fought for months to get him in early intervention…phone calls pushed off as he sat on a waiting list longer than him.

I fought for two years to get him a diagnosis, calling and calling with no answer.

To them he was a number, to me he is my universe.

Perhaps the most exhausting fight of them all has been the fight for his IEP to be properly honored and for him to be valued in the public eye as more than a problem child.

Hours have been spent talking to him in the evenings, reviewing how he should behave at school.

He has been in every therapy imaginable, and we’ve shelled out sensory equipment to address each of his struggles. Yet every time the principal’s phone number pops up in my phone, my heart shatters just a little bit more.

My quiet and anxious self has been a poor match for this fight, and it has pushed me so far from my comfort zone that it physically hurts.

For the parents struggling with the fight, here is your motivation to get through today.

YOU were meant to walk this path with your child.

YOU know every corner of their soul, and YOU know how to be their advocate.

YOU are not a failure for their behaviors.

YOU are so loved for the mother or father that you are, and your insights on your child are invaluable.

YOU are worthy.

Written by, Savannah Elsbury

Hi there, I’m Savannah. A mama of three boys. My oldest, Foster is on the autism spectrum. This space is where I’ve set out to find healing as I’ve navigated new territories and fought to give my son the best life that I possibly could. You can follow our journey at our blog, Fostering the Spectrum and on Facebook.

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. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding.


Avatar photo

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

Share this post: