Loving the Child You Have: The Unseen Rewards of Having a Child with Special Needs

Posted June 18, 2010 by

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There’s an analogy about traveling to Italy vs. Holland for parents of children with special needs. You plan for this trip to Italy and then get re-routed and end up in Holland. Nothing is wrong with Holland, it’s just that you have to adapt to something completely different than what you expected. When you go there you gain new experiences that you never thought you would have.

I still feel that way about how things have unfolded ever since we found out about our four-and-a-half-year old son E’s hearing loss. I recently experienced this phenomenon when I hosted a play date for E with his friends from school. During that time, I hung out with the moms of his friends and we had a great time talking and sharing our experiences and knowledge. I thought of how I wouldn’t have met these moms if E wasn’t born with hearing loss. I also think of the great teachers and speech therapists he has had and how we wouldn’t have even known about them if this hadn’t come about. The connections and friendships I have made because of E’s hearing loss are very important to me. I also love how diligent he is about wearing his hearing aids and how well he has adapted to his cochlear implant. Overall, his hearing loss has shaped me as a person. I don’t take what he says, or even what my two-year-old son M says, for granted. His laughter is music to my ears, as well. While I am on my trip to Italy with M, I still love spending time in Holland with E.


Melissa A. and her husband have 2 young sons, E and M, and a new baby daughter. Melissa's son E has hearing loss and wears a cochlear implant. Melissa works as an administrative assistant for a non-profit and also runs a bullying prevention group and a book-related fan group, in addition to blogging for Empowering Parents. You can check out Melissa’s personal blog here.

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