The Elephant in the Playroom

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I recently finished reading the book The Elephant in the Playroom, edited by Denise Brodey. It was a collection of short essays by people with children with special needs, mostly autism. I enjoyed the book because it helped me feel less alone in the feelings I have about my own special needs child. Even though my daughter doesn't have autism, I could relate to many of the parents in the book. Their feelings of grief, stress, isolation, caring and frustration are things I have felt many times.

I don't really have time right now to go into detail about what Precious has gone through, but she was born with hypotonia, or low muscle tone, so she struggles with speaking and gross motor activities like walking, running, climbing and jumping. She's about 6 months behind in those areas, but making progress. She continues to move in the right direction, even if it seems excrutiatingly slow at times. Every once in a while, she'll make a great leap of development, and that will help keep me going for a while. I get frustrated and sad when I see how hard things are for her, and I guess that is why I enjoyed reading The Elephant in the Playroom. I realized that I am not the only one who avoids certain activities so I don't have explain my child's disability. I'm not alone in comparing my children to others her own age, only to feel depressed and withdraw. There are others who get frustrated with their own children because they can't do things they should be able to do. I feel that way sometimes, too. I would recommend the book to anyone with a child with special needs.

2 comments:

Christine August 5, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

I'm happy that you found a good book that really spoke to you. I wish I could do more for you! I think you are doing a great job and you are a star in my eyes!!

Mindy August 26, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

Here here from this SNM. I am all those things you mentioned and also all alone. I am looking forward to reading this book too. We should make a pact to express our feelings to at least one another since we likely feel the same thing or will be feeling it and sometimes it just takes saying something without fear of reprisal in order to move on from the thought. If it is any consolation, I take lessons from how you parent all of your children and I am encouraged by you and Precious as I stumble along on my own special needs journey. Regardless the diagnosis (or lack there of..) we are all in the same boat negotiating the rapids - together believe it or not. :-)

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