Dreams sometimes look a little different when you have a child with a disability. My son has a physical disability. He is also nonverbal. Trying to figure out what his dreams are is hard:
My son has had a communication device for about 2 years. We are slowly but surely getting a glimpse of his likes and dislikes now that he has a consistent way to communicate.
One thing that he likes is Olympic Gymnastics. In fact, it’s quite an obsession! He asks us to pull up gymnastics on YouTube, and then he tells us which video he wants to watch. He is very particular. He can tell you the different countries where the event is taking place. He can name different gymnasts. He knows the different events—pommel, floor, balance beam, rings, etc. All he wants to do is watch gymnastics.
A few months ago, we unlocked his communication device to give him access to the Internet. Now, while he is watching YouTube on the TV, he also has different videos pulled up on his device. So basically, he can watch gymnastics anytime he wants.
Over Christmas break, we were sitting around talking. I randomly asked what he wanted to do when he grew up, what he wanted to be. He responded, “Gymnast.”
My heart swelled and broke all at the same time. Physically, he can’t be a gymnast, but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming! That’s what dreams are about, right? I’m not about to crush his dreams by telling him he can’t be a gymnast. So I said, “That’s so cool! I bet you’d be a great judge too!”
Now that I know what his dreams are, I need to help him mold those dreams into something he can do! Looking for ways he can be involved with gymnastics in as many ways as I can find.
Helping your child toward independence is one of the most important things you will do for them.
Living with a child who has mental health issues can come with a lot of unknowns just like having a child with physical health issues. But society can treat both children very differently.
I have two boys. One is 10 and the other is 8. Both of my kids have disability labels. One has a physical disability and the other has emotional and behavioral issues. One disability you can see, the other you don’t – but it is there.