Things I Wish I Hadn’t Said to My Special Needs Daughter Growing Up


Sarai, our 25 year old daughter with special needs, will never drive a car, but her grandpa always lets her drive his boat.  It makes her feel so important. 

When your kids are growing up, you assume that they'll drive, get married, live on their own etc.  But for Sarai, I wish I would have realized that she wouldn’t be doing some of those things so I wouldn’t have made those typical future-based statements like "when you drive..." or "when you get married..."

In retrospect, I could have said other things,  such as, “you’re going to inspire people” or  "you’re going to be a life changer"  or even,  "you’re going to do great things" 

I know we want to encourage our children to do more than what the doctors say they can do, but I was in such denial that I ingrained these things into her mind.

Now that she’s 25, she says things like,  "Mom, you said I’d get married, you said I’d get a brand new car at 16, you said when I go to college and meet new friends."

This breaks my heart because now I realize I should have been more careful with my words.  The doctors told me she would probably never do those things, but I spoke as if I knew better.  

Sarai has neurofibromatosis, which are little tumors on her brain stem.  When she was diagnosed at 3, the doctors said she would probably never read or write, but she defied that and is able to both at a very low level.

What I've learned is there needs to be a balance between saying too much and not being optimistic enough.