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Raising Kids with Special Needs - The Popularity Contest

Brittney Baumgartner by Brittney Baumgartner Additional Needs

Brittney Baumgartner

Brittney Baumgartner

Mother to 3 boys, who are getting older by the second. Married to my best friend, Aaron. Living life day by day, in this rambunctious yet blessed h...

I do recall reading the title of a blog and about how they did not want their child to be the purpose of some feel good, raise to fame ordeal.

It stated how they wanted their child to be treated like any other kid would be.

While I can agree on some extent to this, I do not agree to all of it. I will tell you why...

Although I want nothing more than Oliver to be treated with the same respect and courtesy as one would to any other child, he is inevitably different than most kids.

There is no denying that although I would love for him to go out and about playing with kids as kids do, I still need those same children running about to take precaution when he moves about.

I still need them to understand that he does have different ways of getting around and maybe going out and climbing trees is not something he can do on his own.

With social media being so popular and kids and adults getting famous by videos on YouTube and such, it is easy to question ones' intention when posting something.

Like asking your daughter who may have a diagnosis to the prom.

I always catch myself questioning whether the countless people we come across who so adoringly coo over how cute Oliver is, would still be doing the same if he wasn't in braces or a wheelchair.

But I have realized that I do not want to always have to question things day in and day out.

I would love to trust that one day, whether it made it viral or not, that a girl or even my own boy will ask another out to prom and it not be questioned.

I don't want Oliver to ask himself whether they said yes because they, “felt bad”, or if they truly thought he was a cutie - which he is!

I want Oliver to experience love, happiness, and all the normal heartaches we all went through because we learn from that.

I do however want people to understand that he is different in his own unique way and that is what makes him so special to us all!

We sometimes associate the word special with being bad and different, because we always see it linked to “special needs”.

But to me, it is one of that many attributes Oliver carries.

He loves to hold my hand whenever we are laying down together, and that is special to me.

He can get from point A to point B in his wheelchair just as fast as his older brother Aaden can running, and that is special to me.

Oliver has grown up with spina bifida not knowing that it isn't, “not normal”, and he learns and lives because he does not know any different.

I do not want him to ever have to question why he is so special to me or others.


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