Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

It may seem obvious, but I am learning that special needs interventions and treatments don’t happen in a vacuum. 

We went on a road trip for the first time in years, last week.

It was only one night and only a four-hour drive. We had all the things packed to make it a bit easier and more familiar for my boys. Most importantly, we took the trip to attend a convention for aquarium enthusiasts that also happened to have a zip-line nearby. My oldest was super excited about the convention and my youngest has always wanted to go on a zip-line, so they were motivated travelers.

On the very first day of the convention, my son informed me that he would be attending a meet-up with his online contacts from a reef aquarium forum.  I was stunned, a little impressed, and also super nervous.

(Before you worry, please know I have seen this forum online. I have been on it with him for years and know that these are folks that simply love the same things he does. My concern had nothing to do with the dangers of meeting strangers from the internet in real life.)

One hour into the convention, my son said goodbye to me (leaving me on the convention floor alone with a bunch of fish, corals and aquariums – this is my life now, y’all) and headed into a social situation that would’ve been hard even for me.

Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

For almost two years now, we have been trying to figure out how best to help my youngest son stabilize. Not only has he been in chronic pain and discomfort, but his mood stability has been precarious, at best.

We’ve done CBT.

We got a service dog.

We changed his routine and educational demands.

We have tried so many prescription medicines, natural supplements and dietary changes that I can’t keep track anymore.

All of this has helped and none of it has really helped entirely.

Earlier this summer, we changed his medicine dose, again. We didn’t increase or decrease it. Instead, we changed how often he is taking it throughout the day and the effects were almost immediate. The timing mattered more than anything else we’ve tried.

My son has been more stable this summer than the previous three combined.

Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

I am deeply grateful to be able to share that both of my sons are doing well right now.

We still have our usual challenges – the food sensitivities, the rigid thinking, the anxiety fueled meltdowns – but overall, they are better able to cope and able to take on more.

The difference?


More time has passed. They are getting older. The cumulative interventions are starting to help. We have a lifestyle and routine that is designed to push them, but only a little, and then allow them the safety and comfort of home, special interests and peace. The combination of all the things, plus some hormones leveling out and who knows what else have, over time, begun to make a difference.

Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

There is an old proverb – time is the great healer.

I think it is usually used in reference to grief or a broken heart. But I think for our kiddos with chronic conditions, the same is true.

Sometimes, our children need time to mature, to develop, to settle in, for the medications to work, for the interventions to make sense and for their bodies to feel better.

Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

If you are a mom in the midst of one of those stagnant, terrifying, nothing is ever going get to better seasons, please know I’ve been there. Most of this blog is dedicated to it and the truth is, I am 100% certain I will be there again.

I want to remind myself when I am, and you today that sometimes, we have to take a deep breath and simply allow time to run its course. Rather than spinning in the haze of should I try this and maybe he needs to add that, when we have done all we can do, sometimes time is what is missing.

It’s scary to let go. It’s horrifying to think that the only thing we can do is wait.

But it can also be freeing. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not all up to you and me. Maybe, no matter what messages we hear from the doctors, educators and therapists about all the interventions and treatments, maybe sometimes, the greatest gift we can give our children is to just let them be where they are, for as long as they need to be.

Special Needs Interventions: Sometimes Time Is What Matters Most

My son walked out of that meet-up with a smile on his face. As we walked around the convention floor, he told me about his friend Kat and her tank. He told me about the new products his friend Harry said were being released soon. I smiled all afternoon, amazed at the progress he’s made and saying silent prayers of thanks.

Time, it seems, is exactly what he needed.

For more Special Needs Parenting encouragement and support:

Am I Spoiling My Child Or Accommodating His Special Needs?

When Your Child Is Different

When Your Child Resists School


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One Comment

  1. When my triplets were little, it was round-the-clock special needs. It was ALL consuming. Gradually, they started growing out of much of the preemie stuff. Then Ethan got diagnosed with autism. He’s had ups and downs, but again, at 17 so much HAS leveled out. Haircuts are possible. Church is possible, even without headphones to block sound. Thinking about some kind of future, even if it’s not an independent one–is possible.

    Unfortunately, my daughter, who has been GREAT for so many years now, has started with sensory overload and disassociation episodes. So all of a sudden, with her at 17 and on the cusp of college and independence, I’m having to become “medical warrior momma” again, after putting that hat away so many years ago. Hoping for answers from EEG next week and a brain MRI soon after that. Sitting again on that double-edge sword of wanting/not wanting an official diagnosis. Is it medical? Only psychological? Is all this because she’s an adolescent and so many things show up at this time?

    Le sigh.

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