My son is a typical fifteen year teen age boy. His hormones are raging, his hunger knows no bounds and he can easily sleep 12 - 14 hours per night. Loud music is the only way to go and the TV is his preferred form of entertainment. He loves hanging out with friends and will blush at the sight of a pretty girl
However nobody would label my son as a typical fifteen year old boy because he has special needs. In fact he has many needs coupled with epilepsy, hearing loss, an acquired brain injury and a severe intellectual disability. He is a non verbal two year old trapped in a fifteen year old's body which doesn't even physically move like a fifteen year old.
Of course Cameron is different. There are not many fifteen year old boys who walk arm in arm with their mother home from school, nor are there many fifteen year old boys who would sit and watch The Wiggles from sun up to sun down if they were allowed to. (No, he isn't allowed to) Nor would many fifteen year old boys think hanging out with a group of mothers twice a week was fun. However, for all his differences he also has a lot of similarities with other boys his own age.
He thinks, burping, picking your nose and passing wind are hilariously funny. Cars are to be admired and pointed out with huge enthusiasm and his bedroom has that funky smell that all teenager boys bedrooms have.
So there you have it, he is the same but he is different. So how do we deal with these contradictions?
Cameron is our son before he is anything else and he is a big brother as well. In our house those two labels mean a lot more than disabled, special needs, epileptic or acquired brain injury.
Some families seem to change the rules for their person with special needs but we don't. Our lifestyle has had to change and the way our house is organized and run has had to change but Cameron is treated no differently to anyone else in the family. He is still expected to show respect, learn the rules, follow the rules and learn that every action has a consequence - sometimes good and sometimes bad.
Yes, allowances have to be made, just as you would for a baby or toddler, because Cameron can not physically or intellectually do a lot of the things the rest of us can do but we never expect him to be different, we expect him to be the same and consequently there have been times when he has shown great maturity, intelligence and grace.
So, how would I complete this weeks Special Saturday sentence?
People with Special Needs are different but still the same.
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