6 Thoughts That Are Always On The Mind Of A Special Needs Mom

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

We all know that the mind of a mother functions like that of a browser window with 20 different tabs open. It's chaotic, there are lots of different voices and commands going on, you may forget a couple of them are there, but it works more or less.

A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.

As a special needs mom, you basically are going to add 20-30 more of those tabs, and you will add the almost-constant sound of a child screaming in the background.

Looking back over the years, I have always been a special needs mom. My oldest, Miss Quirky, had the meltdowns and sensory issues long before I recognized what it was. But, she was definitely easier for me to handle. More recently, though, I got my Miss Spunky. She is a whirlwind of chaos in every sense, but she mostly makes up for it with how cute (and spunky) she is.

Over the past couple years, I've made friends with many special needs parents, and I've come across a list of things that seem to be on most, if not all, of our minds at all times.

A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.1. Planning For Possible Sensory Overloads
Whether your child has APD (auditory processing disorder), SPD (sensory processing disorder), or something that you have no name for, (but you witness the meltdowns from it so you know it's real) you have got to be aware of those overloads. Will it be too loud? Hot? Cold? Bright? Wet? Dirty? Too many people? We have to know what the environment will be before we can even consider throwing our special kid into the mix. If we don't know beforehand, we will be on guard until we are aware.

2. Will They Eat That Food?
Sensory Processing Disorder can create a lovely little wrench in our child's world by introducing food aversions. Whether that food be prickly, crunchy, squishy, too wet, too dry, or what have you.. If it isn't just right, it. will. not. be. eaten. It will not even be considered! And if you try to suggest it, you may end up in Meltdown Central. And that, my friends, is not somewhere you want to be. So we have to keep this in mind whenever we are invited over for a meal or even just want to eat out... "Will they have food my child will eat?"

3. Will They Wear That Clothing?
A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.Another interesting aspect to SPD is the clothing aversions. Sock seams. Tags. Tulle. Wool. So many different fabrics or feelings that can cause your happy little one, to fall into a very unpleasant state where all clothing is now unacceptable. Even those pajamas they were wearing 2 minutes ago are now unacceptable! Everything hurts. Everything is itchy. Because now their senses are heightened from touching an unpleasant feeling, so nothing is pleasant anymore! This requires us to choose clothing carefully, and to let well-meaning family and friends know that tagless cotton (and only cotton) t-shirts are the only acceptable clothing gift. (Please do not send socks!)

A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.4. Knowing That Your Child May Not Socialize The "Right" Way
I am not one to sit back and claim that those on the Autism spectrum don't socialize. Being on the spectrum, myself, I can tell you with all certainty that we do, in fact, socialize. However, we may not do it in "traditional" ways. Your child may crack a joke that they find is funny, and no one else understands. They may stand back and smile as they watch other children play happily, completely unaware that they, themselves, are not actually playing. They may think that other kids don't want to play with them, simply because those kids walked to another part of the playground, without verbally expressing their interest to continue play. Sometimes, our special kids need a little guidance, reassurance, and understanding when they get confused on social interactions. We must listen, accept, and encourage them.

5. Balancing Social Time And Quiet Time
For myself and my children, quiet time is a necessity. Every day. We can spend 11 hours running errands, going to appointments, seeing friends, and whatnot..but we must have some quiet time. Time to tone down those senses and re-coup. Children who get sensory overloads are like an anti-solar panel, in that the solar panel needs input to gain power, while these children (and adults) need a lack of input. They need little to nothing. To just sit in a room quietly for half an hour to an hour. Possibly they can turn on a low-key movie to calm down, but they usually need to be alone in this. Simple, sweet, quiet time to re-energize themselves.

A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.6. Knowing That We Will Have Very Bad Days
No matter what you do, what precautions you take, what careful planning you did..you will have bad days. You will have a day when you have a short fuse and just cannot handle the meltdowns. Your kids will have days when the meltdowns are frequent and the quiet is few. They will have days where everything makes them whine.....everything. Everything is too much or too little. Nothing is right. Nothing is good. Nothing will fully make them happy. They absolutely will not stay calm for more than 5 minutes.

That's okay. It's okay if you get frustrated. It's okay to walk away and take a breather. It's okay to feel fed up with them right now, and to be so in love with them 10 minutes later. Such is the life of a special needs parent.

A look into the daily thoughts of the special needs mom.We have some incredible, quirky, funny, creative, aggravating, exhausting kids to raise. We get exhausted just planning our day out, knowing that everything could go wrong, despite all our careful planning. But we love them, no matter how our days go. They are in our thoughts constantly, and I think that just shows how much love we have for them!

-A Geeky Ginger-

What's another special needs accommodation you always have on your mind? Post in the comments!

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia!


  1. A huge one for me, my #7, is: what will the future hold? Will my son be able to live on his own or need care? Will I be able to be there for him as long as he needs? That stuff...And truly #7 eclipses all the rest for me, but 1-6 are true too.
    Thanks and love,
    Full Spectrum Mama

    1. Very true. It is hard to wonder what the future will hold for your child. For me, I don't experience that. I'm positive that so many special needs parents do! But being on the spectrum myself, I guess I just have gone through life assuming that my kids will function well-enough...as I have. One of them may not. And I may be taking that presumption for granted. But that's why I didn't include it. Very good point, though! <3

  2. What will the future hold says so much. We try to raise our child as if he is no different but the truth is there are moments that we can truly tell there are. Our grand-son has been said to have aspergers a milder form of autism but still many hard days lay ahead of us. I continue to say that God gave him to our family because we had enough love and needed a bit of challenge to push our love further
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

    1. Yes, absolutely. My children have Asperger's, so they are definitely not to the extreme. I mostly focus on more immediate future, I guess. "What will tomorrow be like when we have to run all those errands?"..Know what I mean? I can't even think far into the future lol

  3. This is such great insight into the world of special needs! This type of awareness really is so important - I had no idea you had all that swarming through your mind at all times. It's so impressive how you are finely in tune with your child and their needs - thanks so much for sharing! <3

  4. Thank you for writing this. Somehow to read through someone else acknowledging the seemingly endless struggle is deeply helpful. My number 1,above all the other you listed, is can I even do it? CAN we make it through to a state of stability that's at least semi constant? Or will I always be exhausted to the point of confusion just trying to keep up with all 6 things that you listed here. Because that is my fear - that I will not be enough to help teach him how to regulate himself, that I will always need to be there a step (or 5!) ahead of him to avoid offer precious little humans getting hurt in the crossfire if the overload meltdowns. Thank you for sharing darling. I bawled the entire read, but feel much better for it. Your positive spin on the constant struggles helps me to think more clearly about his needs and not anxiously obsess over my feared inadequacies. Brightest blessings on you and your darling little humans.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this 💜. This comment made me cry.. It can be such a struggle and having to worry about, not only their longterm future, but your immediate future, is so hard. Some days are worse than others & it can feel hopeless. I take solace in the fact that my girls are in therapies to help their struggles and, hopefully, be able to function as best they can.
      Again, thank you so much for this heartfelt comment.