The Delicate Body of a Special Needs Child

Stronger than a bull at times, my son plows through life. "No" ranks as his favorite word. Going head to head with him exhausts me yet seems to revitalize him.

The act of teaching him to walk took all I had. I hunched over him for years while his fingers gripped my hands so he could keep his balance. T21 kids - trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome - plays havoc on how the muscles work with the body. Often over-flexible, these kids muster the strength of stallions to put one foot in front of the other and cross the floor. I learned early to hold on when I need to and let him fly when he could.

The power of my son quiets when a cold hits or an issue with the stomach flares. His immune system is delicate. The storming beast of my growing son quiets to fight whatever ails him. He must struggle longer to heal than other kids.

As a single parent, I stand alone with the decision of what to do. Should I give him food? Liquids? Bland? Garlic? Ginger? Bath? Call the doctor? I mutter to myself in lieu of talking things over with a partner (sometimes even bounce ideas off the dog and of course there is the Internet). Friends, and even the doctor, step in as ears I must bend to calm a mind on the verge of too much thinking. 

As I watch him sleep, I am again awed at his strength. He fights quietly, with fewer resources than you and I, and he always comes out a winner on the other end. He teaches me to be certain in his power, his ability to heal. At the same time he is delicate, and he is strong - a paradox that somehow finds balance.

More Like This


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.