(This was a document I found while cleaning out my computer today. I wrote it about a year ago.)
Have you ever had that happy feeling when someone says something you knew all along and yet never seem to hear from others? If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you’ve probably had ‘expert’ after ‘expert’ tell you all sorts of scary things about your child. Sometimes, what they say is difficult to hear, but it is true and you just have to come to terms with it. However, sometimes, what they say is absolutely wrong – no matter how much authority they say it with- and you want to jump out of your chair and strangle them. Or is that just me?
You see, my daughter was born prematurely at 32 weeks gestation and since the day she was born, she’s had diagnoses, interventions, and all sorts of tests and ‘expert’ opinions. Over these past ten years, I have come to realize that those ‘experts’, like all people in this vast world, are first and utmost PEOPLE. Some are really good at their jobs and some, well, just seem to be either unaware of current research, not interested in doing more than the basic “let’s find an easy catch all diagnoses”, or in some cases perhaps just have an off day. It happens! But as a parent, I’m entrusting these experts with my child, one I love so dearly, and I need an A+ expert all the time. Hopefully I’m choosing experts better these days – doing my research and not accepting anything I know is “not my daughter".
So now to that very, very happy feeling I had today with the latest expert on our special needs journey. Today, I saw the developmental optometrist about my daughter’s visual processing disorder. She said those amazing wonderful words every parent wants to hear: “your daughter is very smart” and “the reason she compensates so well is she is bright enough to figure out ways to deal with her difficulties.” Wow! Did I hear that right? MY daughter is “VERY SMART”? You see, it’s not that I don’t believe it. It’s just that I have believed it for the past ten years and yet I have had at least a half-dozen ‘experts’ either suggest or even tell me outright that she isn’t. I have been the one telling them how smart she is – defending her from their ‘expert’ opinions. It was like sunshine after a cold, dark winter. I wanted to jump across the desk and kiss her; she saw my daughter the way I see her! Finally!