I’m the parent of a child who has special needs–what’s your super power?
We may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, fly faster than a speed bullet, or have x-ray vision, but trust me, parents of kiddos who have special needs have some pretty amazing super powers. While we are living day to day, making sure our kid’s needs are met and trying to get through the day with our sanity more or less intact, we might not take the time to recognize how super we really are. So here is a list of some superpowers that special needs parents use on a regular basis without a moments notice of how awesome they are!
We might not all have all of these super powers… and they might not all be at full strength all the time (for instance, whining is like kryptonite to my other super powered patience). But overall, I would say we are a super group of parents. So what makes parents of children with special needs so super?
1) Super Human Strength
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The strength to fireman carry a 5-year-old who is kicking, screaming and flailing while pushing the baby in a stroller out of the zoo is beyond normal human strength! But physical strength is only part of the super human strength possessed by parents of children who have special needs. The internal fortitude to wake up every morning, smile and manage whatever chaos the day throws at us, often requires strength that is beyond that of typical humans!
2) Super Speed
My son who has a bleeding disorder once cut his finger pretty badly on a broken glass, he came out to show me and in the moment it took me to realize it was bad, my cupped hands were filled with blood. It was at this point that my super speed kicked in. I grabbed some gauze, wrapped it in a super tight pressure bandage, gathered up his factor and supplies, mixed meds, popped an IV and infused his factor faster than you could say, “all that blood is making me woozy.” We were on the way to the emergency clinic in less than 10 minutes from broken glass to getting both kids dressed, out the door and into our car. That’s super speed without a doubt (trust me, on a good day it takes at least an hour to get both kids out the door and that’s without having to start an IV). When the situation calls for it, super speed is in our wheelhouse!
I’m not sure exactly how this works but it seems that when people are playing Minecraft I am invisible. Strange but true!
4) Mind Reading
While I may not be able to read most people’s minds, I am pretty good at reading my children’s minds. More often than not, I know when a tantrum is brewing before there is any outward sign. I know when they aren’t feeling well, or when something is just off. It’s like mom intuition, but more super.
5) Super Human Endurance
Well this one is a no brainer, if you’ve ever sat through a marathon six hour day of appointments at the Children’s Hospital with nothing to entertain your 2-year-old besides the random junk in your purse (because you were told this one would be a quick appointment, and you were still naïve enough to believe it back then) then you used your super human endurance.
6) Super Knowledge
How many of you have had to educate professionals about your children’s diagnoses or challenges? If I had to guess I would say it is a regular occurrence for most parents of children with extra challenges that we are teaching the doctors about our kid’s needs. I realized years ago that my husband and I are the only experts on our son, he has many amazing and talented specialists and they are all true experts in their specialty areas. However, it’s our job to put it all together and understand how all of these conditions interact within the actual human being that is our son. Before my son was diagnosed I had never heard of Von Willebrand’s Disease, now I know more about it than most doctors (outside of the amazing docs that specialize in hematology of course). We may not be medical doctors or nurses, but when it comes to our kids, we’re in the know.
7) Super Hearing
When someone is hurt, when kids are fighting, and worst of all, when things are too quiet, my super hearing abilities kick in. Children whispering in the backseat, yep, I can hear that too!
8) Super Human Voice Projection
And when that super hearing has told me that something’s not right, I use my super voice projection. I don’t like to yell at my kids, but there are times when it’s simply not an option not to. When something dangerous is about to occur, then you better believe that if I can see them, they can hear me! I had no idea I could project my voice so far before having kids.
9) Time Travel
I am pretty sure I must have perfected the art of time travel, since I regularly have to squeeze 30 hours of stuff into a 24 hour day. I know I am not alone in this, most parents of differently abled children seem to have more to do in a day than hours and somehow we pull it off. I am not sure if we are manipulating the time space continuum somehow? Or maybe we’re duplicating ourselves and our clone’s are running some of our errands? Regardless, whether it’s time manipulation, time travel or duplication, this is clearly a super power in some way or another.
10) Super Stretch
Parents of kiddos who have special needs have two ways in which we can use our super stretch abilities. First of all, we are pretty much constantly being pulled in at least 10 different directions with multiple people and tasks requiring our attention at any given moment. It requires a whole lot of stretching to manage being pulled in so many ways at once, but we make it work.
We are also required to be super flexible in another way, when the specialist cancels an appointment at the last minute and we have to juggle work and school plans to make the new appointment work, when an emergency comes up two weeks before Christmas and all travel plans have to be cancelled at the last minute, we are using an incredible amount of flexibility.
11) Super Linguistical Powers
No I don’t mean that you should try to speak to me in a foreign tongue, because I guarantee I will not understand you. But I have this uncanny ability to pick out what children are saying, even when they have pretty severe language difficulties. I like to joke that this is my super power and I am often used to translate for kiddos when others cannot make out what they are trying to say. I suspect this came from years of decoding my son’s unusual speech patterns, like being bit by a radioactive spider (kind of) my brain was reshaped by interacting with my son’s strange language as a toddler/preschooler and here I am, with my super linguistic powers.
12) Super Positivity
This is a superpower that many parents of children who have special needs seem to have. We tend to be glass half-full kinds of people. We are often able to see the silver lining, the positives that exist despite the challenges. We are grateful for our children, and we are keenly aware of the possibility of losing a child. We are grateful for what they can do, and simply grateful to have them with us in this world. It’s not always easy to find the good in a difficult situation, for some people it’s virtually impossible. So I definitely think this is a superpower for many parents of children have special needs.
I hope that this list has helped you realize some of your super powers. What other super powers do you have?