Can you imagine not being able to communicate your wants, hopes, fears and most importantly, your needs? This is the life my Elizabeth lives every-single-day. Her autism is all over the spectrum but when it comes to speech, she is on the “severe” side. This impediment brings my heart painful frustration and yet stretches me to figure out ways to communicate with her. As her mom, I want to know how her day was at school. Is she hungry? Does she want a new toy? Does something hurt? Elizabeth can’t tell me ANYTHING! This makes her a perfect target for someone who would want to take advantage or hurt her. Two years ago there was a malicious girl in her class who was caught kicking Elizabeth under the table. The instructional aid witnessed the incident and put an end to it; but I have to wonder, how many other times had this happened without anyone ever finding out? Unless there’s blood or obvious signs of injury, no one would understand why she cries, including myself.
So, why am I so compelled to write this post? Because I’m calling all parents of special needs children to be awakened, be a loud voice for their defenseless little ones and to make it clear to the schools, community, our family and everyone who interacts with our child that they are not alone. Each child is surrounded by a protective army called Special Needs Parents. We must look out for each other’s children. It takes a village to raise a child but it takes an army to raise a special needs child. This week we had another incident with our daughter that brought us immense worry, so much that a police investigation had to take place. My husband and I try to live peaceable lives but when it comes to protecting Elizabeth, we will overturn the tables with anger.
In closing, I encourage you to pray for your children and pray with them. Our daughter can’t speak but she will hold our hands, close her eyes and even end with an “abuh” (amen). Does she fully understand what’s going on? We don’t know, but the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:7: Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. He cares for our special needs children and wants to hear their silent prayers too but we must help lead them to Jesus. Remember the paralytic man who wanted to be healed by Jesus so badly that he had the community lower him on a bed through the rooftop of the house where Jesus was? You can read the whole account in Mark 2:1-12. This man had an army surrounding him, ready to help even to the point of going to this extreme.