April 4, 2014

What My Special Needs Toddler Has Taught Me About Facing Challenges - Faith Filled Mommy Moments

Faith Filled Mommy Moments is a safe place for moms of any religion to share their experiences on how their faith &/or beliefs helped them through a moment in motherhood. Because Heaven knows I need all the inspiration I can get!  I will be accepting Guest Posters for the majority of this series & have some awesome moms lined up for you!  I'm hoping this series will inspire other moms, help them draw nearer to their beliefs (whatever they are), & unite us all together.  If you are interested in sharing one of your stories in a post on this series, email me at michelle@trustmeimamom.com for more information.

My daughter has been diagnosed with Apraxia & Sensory Processing Disorder.  Although I realize there are many more severe special needs, she definitely has them. 

For any of you who know a child with special needs, you know they are amazing.  Now, I'm not necessarily saying they are automatically qualified into superhero status just for having these special needs, but I do think they deserve a little credit for going through everything they have to go through.

Usually, they go through these challenges with such an amazing spirit. 

It's inspiring! 

Paige (my 4 year old) has an extra hard time with her speech.  You don't realize how much you talk (or how important it is) until a loved one has a hard time speaking clearly.  Paige has to work really, really hard for people to understand her.  Although she's made tremendous improvement in the past year (her pediatrician was almost in tears at her 4 year check up because she was so impressed and proud of Paige), she still has a long road ahead of her.  This might be something that affects her for the rest of her life.
I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to not be understood, not even by your own mom

I get frustrated just when I'm in the other room & my husband can't hear one sentence of mine. 
Imagine you can't tell anyone what you want to eat.  You can only sign that you want to eat.  Imagine you can't tell anyone what show you want to watch on TV.  You can only point to the TV.  Imagine you can't tell someone your tummy hurts.  You can only... well, there's no way she could have communicated that to me when she was younger.  Imagine you want to make a friend, but you can't talk in a way they understand.  You can only smile at them and hope they give you plenty of time and attention to figure out what you want. 

Now imagine this is your life.  Day after day. 

That would be an incredibly hard & lonely life.  To be honest, I am sure I'm only pointing out a small portion of Apraxia's challenges. 

Despite these trials (and many more), Paige always seems to have such a happy spirit about her.  

She's amazing & teaches me daily to be better.  I'd love to share what she teaches me about how to handle life's trials with you. 

She rarely gets frustrated with herself and others.
(even though she would have been justified many times)
People often don't understand her, or try very hard to understand her.  This is something I would get frustrated with.  She's patient with them & if she needs help, she turns to me to translate.  Same goes for when her body doesn't work the way she wants it to.  She's usually very patient with herself.  When I'm not feeling my best (AKA in the middle of a trial), I find it very hard to be patient with others.  That's usually when I snap or say something I later regret.  I need to remember to try to be more patient with others.  As far as being patient with myself, well... we are our own worst critics.  So I love her example on being patient with herself. 

She turns to the Lord when she needs to for help with what she can't do on her own.  
She knows that God is there for her, so when she needs help, she prays.   (read here for an inspiring story about her praying)  I love the faith she has. 

She gets creative in how to solve her problems/communicate.
Paige has always been great at communicating, just not necessarily verbally.  She finds creative ways to communicate & let others know what she wants to tell them.  I think it's often hard when we're in the middle of a trial to be open minded & creative, but if we let ourselves be open to other ways to solve our problem, we will come out on top more times than not. 

She laughs at herself when her body won't work the way she wants it to.
Paige's occupational therapist pointed out to me that kids with similar motor control challenges as Paige often make their mistakes into something silly.  This totally made sense to me because Paige used to be as serious as can be, but in the past year or so, she's become more silly & it's usually when she's trying to control her body, but it doesn't always work the way she wants it to.   Having a good sense of humor and a positive attitude can make or break you in a hard time.

She accepts her challenges & makes the most of them.
Paige knows she has a hard time with certain things.  She does a great job making the most of what she's been given in life.  She has a positive attitude, is patient with the situations she faces & still loves herself & those around her.  

I love Paige for teaching me so much.  I want to follow her example & use these tips each day as I face different challenges and trials.

Tell me!  What has your child taught you about challenges??  Let's learn from each other's littles!  

Linked up to Fellowship Fridays, Love That Max, How Do You Do It? Parenting Link Up, LDS Link-up Party & The Homemaking Party


  1. I subbed for five weeks in a special education class that included a girl who could not speak clearly. . She didn't have Apraxia.. she had something with her mouth that made her physically unable to form words clearly. She had an iPad she used as a communication device, but she hated using it. It was awesome how she managed to communicate without words... the other kids barely seemed to notice that she did not speak. She was best friends with a boy with a cognitive disability, and the two of them seemed to have some sort of telepathy going on! It kind of made me want to do an experiment and go a week without speaking, to see if I could do as well as she could!

    1. You know what? I read a blog once by a mom who tried to go a day without speaking and used her son's communication device, but I can't find it! It was a great read, very touching!

  2. My daughter has apraxia as well but she is the most joyful, friendliest child I have. I'm amazed at how she just figures it out on her own and finds ways to communicate with others. She doesn't let it get her down.

  3. Paige sounds like such a delightful child. Meeting her some day would be a real treat. Thanks for introducing her to DifferentDream.com readers by adding this post to the Tuesday link share!


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