Being a child living with disabilities can be incredibly tough. Whether the child was born with the disability or gets diagnosed as a child, it impacts the entire family. Believe it or not, children are really good at hiding things from their caregivers and loved ones. As someone that has lived through being diagnosed with multiple disabilities as a child, I can attest to being an expert at hiding some of my true thoughts and feelings from my loved ones. I was particularly guilty of this in my younger years, trying to navigate life as a kid and as a person with disabilities. This is what I have found that children can hide from the people they love.
- We get scared and angry.
There are times that children living with disabilities can seem like superheroes. Being young and having to adapt to life with x, y, or z as their disability can be tough, even if we’ve been living with it for years. When we face a complication, we panic. Will we have to go to the doctor? Will we have to stay at the hospital? We know that we are brave and strong, but it can still be intimidating. Plus, we get angry that we are in this situation. Even if it is no one’s fault. We’re so sorry if we take it out on you. It’ll upset us for days.
- We don’t want to bother you.
We see the stress and emotional toll that we can put on our family members and caregivers. Your unconditional love is one of the best things that we have. But, if we think something is going on, we won’t always come to you right away to try to save you the stress. We may try to resolve the issue ourselves or “push through” it. We don’t want to make you sad. We want you to live your life, too!
- We want to have fun!
Between doctors’ visits and upkeep to try to make sure we have the best quality of life possible, we get a little bored. We want to do more with you than just go to the doctor. We want to play. Even if it costs us a little bit after, we want to go to the park or the pool and just have genuine fun with you. We want to see our friends and act silly like any child living without disabilities can!
- We forget that we have disabilities.
While this may seem counter-intuitive, especially based on point number one, we do forget that we are living with disability/disabilities. We may be having a really good day/week, or we’ve created our “new normal” and are basing life off of that. We forget that our mobility devices, service animals, and behavioural habits aren’t in the norm. But when we get tired, pain surges, overwhelmed, or if someone approaches us wondering why we are the way we are, it reminds us.
- We are proud warriors (most of the time).
We know that you cringe when someone comes up to you or to us and asks what is wrong. But, it’s okay! We want to get to the point where we can educate people instead of getting overwhelmed or upset that they see us as different. We want you to be proud, too. Help us educate people and we can conquer the world. But, sometimes, we get frustrated that people don’t understand who we are.
There are so many different thoughts that run through children’s heads. The number one thing to remember is that we want you to be happy, just like we want to be happy. We have to support each other and really listen, even if it involves reading in between the lines.
By Samantha Anderson