Being a kid is hard. The world is a new place to you, everything is a novel experience and the entire experience of growing up constantly provides new obstacles to overcome. Although growing up comes with its fair share of valuable lessons, it also comes with its drawbacks. While it’s in every mother’s natural instincts to defend her child, this story is an example of one mom going above and beyond.
The mom in question is Nicole Duggan, an Irish woman with a three-year-old son with special needs named Riley. More specifically, Duggan’s son is on the autism spectrum and needs just a little extra care and attention. Riley is non-verbal and is easily set off by intense emotional stimuli. Although many kids may be accepting of Riley’s differences, Duggan noticed some hesitancy among the parents in her son’s class. As any thoughtful mom would, Duggan wrote an open letter to all the parents in the class:
My little boy is just like your child, he loves to dance, he loves to be cuddled, he cries when he falls, and he adores Mickey Mouse. He is however “wired differently.”
The small things we take for granted every day are the hardest things for him to cope with. Different lights, sounds, smells or even the look of something can cause an overload that is too hard for an adult to deal with, let alone my little boy.
To the people that stare at him because he hums, join in with his little singsong, because in his eyes he is singing the best song in the world.
To the mothers that pull their children away from him, you are creating the bullies of the future. Children don’t notice the differences; they just want to play, let them.
To the lady that called him bold in the supermarket, try to look at things from his perspective. An overload of colors and sounds. People whizzing past you. You too would cry your eyes out if you could not tell anyone how you are feeling when it all gets too much.
To the friends that have disappeared, I hope this never knocks on your front door. I would not change my small man for the world and if you cannot understand him and how he works, then you do not deserve to be in his life in the first place.
Children with needs are the bravest, most courageous and most amazing little people in this world. They are fighting battles nobody knows and I guarantee not one adult would make it through half of the obstacles they do. Just because there is not a physical difference does not mean they are simply bold.
So this year I ask you to think before you judge, live a day in my small man’s shoes and you will understand how much of a superhero he really is.
Above all, Duggan’s story is a reminder that we all view the world differently. All of our experiences are unique and deserve respect. To foster a more welcoming world, we should make pains to be more awake to the struggles of others, especially those who can’t communicate as fluently as we can. While it may be difficult to stretch our patience, it always results in a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around us.
In this case, Duggan’s note is a reminder of a mother’s undying love which we could all use a reminder of. Click below for the full story and remember to slow down and appreciate the wealth of the world we all live in.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.