Special (adj.) – individual, extraordinary, singular, unique, exceptional, distinctive
Some would call me a special needs mom. Since I have hearing loss and can’t hear my children very well, my special need would be communication accommodations. “Face me when you speak,” I repeatedly tell my kids, “so I can lip read you.”
Which makes it all the more interesting when one of my children also has a special need. What sets my 11-year-old Boy Wonder (B.W.) apart from the rest of the world is his inquisitive nature. From the time he could talk, he repeatedly asked his hard of hearing mom questions. His limited vocabulary and curiosity captivated all the grown-ups he knew.
Once, in preschool, B.W. asked his little buddy if he knew who The Beatles were. This was during a Halloween party, and all the other kids were busy inhaling their candy.
“Did you know my Daddy likes The Beatles?” B.W. asked his buddy.“Do you know Paul McCartney? He played in The
Not many kids under the age of 5 know who The Beatles are, let alone one of its lead singers. Obviously, little buddy didn’t have a clue.
So B.W. proceeded to unzip his Scooby-Doo Halloween costume to reveal underneath a Paul McCartney shirt that came to his
B.W. exposed his shirt proudly. “My Daddy likes Paul McCartney. My Daddy took me to see him. I got to go to a Paul McCartney concert.”
My boy cracked up his preschool teachers with his T-shirt flashing. No other kid had a clue who The Beatles were.
A month after completing kindergarten, my boy was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Children with Asperger’s typically ar bright, energetic, inquisitive, easily distracted in school, and unsure about social situations. Applying the knowledge these kids have in their heads with class assignments is often a challenge because they tend to lose focus.
B.W. is entering middle school, and he’s still as inquisitive as ever. He’s an accomplished artist, builds Lego skyscrapers that are architect-worthy, and knows more social studies trivia than most Jeopardy! contestants.
But when it comes to social skills in the classroom or in the neighborhood, my boy is baffled. He’s sensitive to anyone’s jokes or name-calling. If someone playfully tries to wrestle with him on the playground, B.W. considers them a bully. Never mind that the “bully” is a girl who just wants to be his friend.
B.W. also doesn’t get why he has to study spelling. This becomes a huge debate item each evening when he and I go over his weekly list of 15 words.
One of the words on his spelling list was “special.” Out of all the words, this was the one B.W. couldn’t spell correctly. S-E-P-C-A-L-L was how he wrote the word.
I saw the confusion in his eyes and heard the cry in his voice as he repeated the same spelling over and over. Granted, I had to do a very proficient job of lip reading him as his voice turned into barely audible whines.
It was a special needs mom trying to interpret her special (needs) boy’s spelling of “special.” Confused yet?
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Shanna Groves was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss after the birth of her first child. She was 27. Raised in a hearing family, Shanna traces her hearing loss to a genetic loss on the paternal side of her family. She is mom to three young children, a published author, and speaker. Her books are featured at www.ShannaGroves.com. Shanna blogs about being a hard of hearing mom at http://LipreadingMom.com.