As parents of a special needs child, we hear the word, “patience” every day and sometimes even more. But, have you ever really stopped to focus on just what that word means when dealing with the day-to-day struggles of caring for your special needs child? As a father of a child with Autism, it took me quite some time to really figure out the importance of exercising patience with my son.
Lately, I have noticed when my son goes into a tantrum or outburst, instead of becoming frustrated and going from 0-60 in mere seconds…exercising patience is really, as they say, a virtue. If I step back and count to ten and calmly ask him to show me what is wrong, or show me what he needs, he will calm down much quicker and proceed to communicate with me the best way he can. I have to remember, it is just as frustrating for him to not be able to communicate with me as it is for me to be able to understand his outbursts and communication struggles.
Exercising patience aids in opening up a communication doorway and, in my opinion, strengthens the bond between you and your special someone. I believe our children have a unique and intelligent understanding of the world around them, and we, as parents, just need to be more patient to further understand what they perceive as normal, every day.
So the next time you feel frustrated or hear someone say, “be patient,” really stop and give it a try; it just may be the key to unlocking some of the mysteries behind the communication barriers with special needs children…and maybe even relieve some of the stress you deal with every day.
By Matt McLain
* Stories From the Heart is an ongoing series of user contributed heart warming stories, that shine light on the Autism and special needs experience.