Coming to Napa Center in Los Angeles is always a pleasure! It feels like coming back home. It’s a time for me to support my son in his journey while he works so hard to achieve a goal that comes to others easily.
This is our fourth visit to Napa for their three-week intensive therapy program. I sit down and scan the room while my son works with one of the therapists. I see the children as little angels running around, playing and struggling, and my eyes fill with tears of inspiration and gratitude. How hard these special angels work, while transforming whoever comes around them, pushing their parents, caregivers and staff to their highest potential.
The other day someone said to me, "Senait, I want to get to know Aaron and have more understanding, because I am afraid to be around people in a wheelchair. I just don’t know what to do with myself or how to be around them." I loved her sincerity and as I started to think about it, I was inspired to shed some light by writing about my experience.
As a special needs parent, I have spent 12 years being blessed to be around the healers and angels as I like to call these amazing children. For parents of typically-developing children or for anyone that has never been involved with special needs children, it's challenging to get their world. Many people are uncomfortable around someone with a disability. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Confront you with what is not healed within you. Since I had my son in 2003, my journey automatically turned inward, there was nothing I could do about it. The amount of healing that has happened for me is worth 10 years of therapy. I had never imagined I needed healing from anything before his birth and would have argued with you if you told me I did!
2. Will make you question everything you know about life! You will be forced to question your beliefs, everything you know, expanding you to new discoveries. My spirituality was shaken when I was confronted with my son’s diagnosis. I got angry, I got sad, I got crazy, I felt every emotion that a human can possibly experience. I went high up to heaven and down to hell with difficult questions to ask before I found balance in my spirituality and this is true of every special needs parent I have met.
3. Will awaken the potential to heal within you that was already there. As you are passionately figuring out how to heal or help your child in their process, you have already began the process of healing parts of yourself that need healing. Being uncomfortable around special needs people is an opportunity to become aware of pain you are carrying so that you can heal it.
4. Remind you not to underestimate them. If you have concluded in your mind from your assessment that a special needs child in front of you understands you and the world around them about 30%, always multiply that by 100. A special needs child might be challenged in the way they move, communicate or interact, but they are all in there.
5. Will teach you about faith and patience, big time! I sometimes find myself not worrying too much about what other people find so worrisome in daily life and I tend to tolerate even the most annoying things. Where did I learn that? You guessed it right! My special needs son!
If a special needs child has entered your life, whether as a new parent, a neighbor, a teacher, a family friend or community member, consider yourself lucky! You have an opportunity to experience an expansion of inner wisdom and the miracle of true and authentic love by an Angel on Earth.