Special Needs Parenting: How I Stand Up for My Daughter

Rebecca Toal by Rebecca Toal Additional Needs

Rebecca Toal

Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to ma...

She still needs a lot of extra help. Watching her grow from an under 2 pound tiny premature infant into the lively, happy, taller-by-the-day girl she is today, has been such a joy!

Sometimes I have to stand up for my daughter.

The circumstances vary- it could be in regards to an ill-informed comment on her ability to learn or understand something, or in response to a child making a cutting remark about Brielle.

I speak up for her, because she cannot speak up for herself. She is defenseless in that regard, and an easy target for teasing or pity.

I’m so thankful that Brielle is oblivious to words that would hurt her feelings otherwise.

She is the most innocent, trusting and happy girl I know! It really breaks my heart that there are people in the world who look down on her because of her disabilities, who discredit her abilities, who would tease her for her appearance or what she cannot do.

There are many mums and dads in a similar boat, I know will identify with this. So how do I stand up for my daughter? Well, let me give you an example.

Our friend’s four year old son came out bluntly the other day, “Brielle is silly.”

Now he didn’t say it with a smile or laugh, but really seriously and almost disapprovingly.

Brielle was scooting about the ground finding, and then flinging various toys at the time, in a group environment.

Maybe I read into it too much.

He is only four after all!

I pried for what he meant, and he repeated that she was silly.

I said, “You mean that she is a happy girl?”

The answer was no.

So mama bear mode kicked in.

I told him that we are all a bit silly.

That Brielle is a great girl, she’s a happy girl.

You see, what I interpreted he was trying to say, is that Brielle is different, she doesn’t act like a typical six year old, she doesn’t fit in with the other kids – she’s silly.

He wasn’t being mean, just expressing his thoughts.

So I gently stood up for my little girl in this instance, not wanting her to be singled out as being, ‘silly’, as she scooted about the floor with a huge smile on her face.


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