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Living With Rosie – My Child Has Special Needs

Rosie wrote an article last week for Jump! Mag, telling us about her life on a farm. What you did not know when you read that piece, is that Rosie has special needs. Her mother explains how it is to live with a child with special needs.


I believe that you know immediately after giving birth that your child is different somehow.

As they grow, you notice that some milestones are different from the ones that your other children had and you silently chide yourself for comparing them.

Slower with walking, not speaking, unusual behaviour, unusual reactions to noise or red food.

You live with it every day and it becomes normal behaviour to you and your family, you adapt to the child’s needs and try to help them make sense of all that their jumbled up senses bring them.

Primary school was a slightly nightmarish experience for my daughter especially as she became older. Other children could be very cruel, excluding her from birthday parties, discos, play days or merely ignoring her in the playground.

She did not understand some of the names she was called but repeated them to me when she came home. I understood them and made the decision to home educate her for a while until we fought the council for the proper education and care she needed.

After a long battle and court case, we won the right to send her to a school which catered for the children with special needs.

My daughter was delighted to discover there were children ‘just the same as her’, and for the first time in her life she had  best friends. Her new friends said they had been excluded at primary school as well so they all knew what exclusion felt like.

Some of the children have difficulty understanding how to ‘read’ people. They miss the nuances of language, they understand people literally so humour can sometimes be misunderstood as insult.

Some of the children can show unpredictable behaviour out of sheer frustration. They know what they are trying to say but they cannot find the words to say it or the information is not being understood by the recipient.

The children are intelligent and smart, they can create objects of beauty, projects of great complexity, nurture plants and animals with rare intuition yet they often cannot interact with humans with ease.

I worry about how vulnerable these children are and as my daughter grows into a beautiful young woman, I worry about her future.

She will never be able to drive, never be able to go on a bus on her own as she has no concept of money, nor can she understand that not every adult is good. Some are not very nice at all.

I think about her future, how do you strike a balance between protecting her and encouraging freedom and independence?

How will she meet a decent partner, how will she cope with children, how  will she manage shopping?

All the things that we take in our stride; they are interpreted differently by children with special needs.

“See the ability, not the disability” was an old saying.

I always wanted to add “Love, protect and respect them’ to that saying.



(Picture courtesy of Flickr)

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  1. 1

    I have an older bro, he has autism and strugles with simple things like go over there and grab that potato
    i have ADHD and dyslexia and just drive every one mental and am home-ed as of the dyslexia and scholl i was bullied a lot and really badly and then i reacted badly and I got in trouble not them so was taken out but with me my perants know that i will be ok when move out but my bro we are so sure about he is 14 and still gets overly confused like if me and a friend have a play fight he thinks we are actually fighting and trys to stop us not sure how hes goin to cope
    have to so how it gos

    by 12yr old Iona

    • 2

      Thanks for your comment, Iona.

      I am glad that your parents are supportive and were able to take you out of school and home educate you. It sounds like you have a great strong family, and that is really very positive.

  2. 3

    there is a girl in my form at school she has autism and she is treated like everyone and no one teases or bullys her and you can see how it helps her out with no drawing attention to her

  3. 5

    i have a friend and his brother has autism and he always does different things to what we do!i find him very nice and i hope he has lots of friends!

  4. 6

    we recently discovered that my brother has severe dyslexia.For me,he’s still exactly the same but he had to change school.His memory is very bad and he often struggles to find what he was going to say…

  5. 8

    As a community paediatrician I see girls with autism, but not as often as I see boys! It is a condition which is very difficult to recognise in girls so they are often just considered “odd” or “weird” & have to cope with school without their problems being recognised. If you have a girl/are a girl with this sort of problem (no friends, unusual interests, strange behaviour) then see your GP & ask for a referral. There isn’t a “treatment”, but there are lots of parent support & self-help groups out there.

    Well done all of you who are dealing so well with this!

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