It’s a question so many of us ask, desperate for an answer. Will it ever get easier for my child with learning differences and special needs?
Last week, in one of my support sessions with another, sweet mom, we talked about what I call the “messy middle.”
I am pretty sure it is a reality for many of us who have children with differences.
It’s the time frame after the diagnosis or IEP meeting. It’s when everything is still really, really difficult and it seems like nothing is really going to help. (Incidentally, this messy middle often occurs between the ages of 10-14, but that is a totally different post.)
In the midst of this messy middle, there is one question that comes up over and over again, late at night when we are at our anxious worsts. It came up in my conversation with this mom.
Will it ever get easier for my child?
A few years ago, my youngest son was experiencing debilitating issues ranging from sleep disturbance and mood instability, to frequent vomiting and almost constant diarrhea. These symptoms continued for literal years.
When I look back, that time frame is a complete blur of fear, worry, and exhaustion. I am ashamed to say that many times, I thought I knew the answer to the question, “Will it ever get easier for my son?” Sadly, deep down I thought the answer was no.
I asked the same question about his older brother. While his needs were different, the messy middle for him is what brought me to blogging. Frequent meltdowns, learning differences and social struggles – all of it felt like it was never going to get easier.
So, when she asked the question of me last week, I wasn’t surprised.
In fact, it’s probably the number one question I am asked, almost in a whispered tone, when a mom starts to feel a sense of trust and begin to open up with me.
Will It Ever Get Easier For My Child With Learning Differences?
My answer is this – it does, but not always in the way we expect.
It gets easier because you learn more about your child and what works.
It gets easier because eventually, your child learns more about themselves and what works.
It gets easier because sometimes, time needs to run its course in an illness for the diagnosis to really be clear.
It gets easier because you develop a stamina and resistance that would’ve seemed impossible before.
It does get easier.
But, if I am being honest, it also gets more complicated and almost cyclical.
What feels impossible today, will be easier tomorrow no matter what, because you will gain experience. You will build the special needs mom muscles you need to continue to find solutions and support.
And you need those muscles, because I have never met a family who found easy and then had it stay that way.
Easier seems like relief, I know, and sometimes, it is.
What I want you to know is this –
My experience has been that there are some things even better than easier.
We are coming up on the ten year anniversary of the very first time we saw a doctor with the intent to evaluate my son for autism.
Looking back, I remember the fear and the sheer exhaustion I felt. I went into that appointment sure that we could make things easier.
What I have learned since then, is that the only way to thrive in the midst of all of this is to stop fighting for easy.
To take the next step and the next. To pray with all my heart and then pray some more. To find one thing that works and then another.
Because at the end of the day, when we stop fighting for easy, we open ourselves up to so much more.
More confidence. More peace.
Then, and only then, does it get easier.
For More Resources, Support and Encouragement:
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.