We are asking our bloggy friends – and friends of friends – to write on the theme Stronger Together. This can include posts featuring things we do to support others in the military and/or special needs community, how you’ve been helped in the past and intend to pay it forward, stories of families coming together during sequestration, finding your “tribe” through online support groups and blogging, or anything else that goes with the general theme.

To participate, write your story. Then come over here and follow the instructions on how to “link up.” Then share and promote the link-up page on your blog, Facebook and other social media platforms. Finally, click-through and read some of the other outstanding bloggers who have linked-up. This is a great way for military special needs bloggers to connect & discover new favorites.

To read the other blog hoppers, please click on the above icon. You will go to the Inlinkz site. A list of blogs will be there for your viewing pleasure. Please stop by and read a couple. And make sure you leave a comment when you visit our fellow bloggers – comments are like gold to bloggers. You’ll make someone’s day, I promise.

Today’s post is part of our “Special” Kind of Blog Hop series. This week’s blog is based on the theme of Stronger Together.

Stronger Together:

When you have children of your own, you are immediately told to never compare them to your friend’s children, neighborhood children or even siblings. However, I feel the person who often tells that lie, has a normal child and has never had to deal with the little voice in the back of their head yelling “something just isn’t right!”. At least that is how it was for me. I pushed the little voice in my head to the back and slapped some duct tape on its mouth.

Bug was diagnosed in January of 2011 with Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). At the time, Bug’s diagnosis was really no shock to me. I saw red flags and I knew enough from my past to know Bug was not developing as a “normal” child. Eventually, as my confidence grew as a mother, I learned to listen to my instincts. After walking out of the doctor’s office being given Bug’s diagnosis, Hubs turned to me and said “if he has Autism, then so do I”. I will never forget that moment. I knew I would be doing a lot of this swimming alone. I managed those first couple of months just fine. It was hard doing it alone, but with the support of his therapists we did great.

It was when our middle child was diagnosed with Autism in October of 2011 that I was thrown into the water and felt like I was drowning. Diva was seemingly normal. I kept lying to myself that all her red flags were merely mirrors of her brother; that their closeness in age, personality and her love for him made her want to be him. After her diagnosis is when I started reaching out; trying to find a life preserver to hold onto. However, that was also when I realized that due to location and life style, if I wanted to keep afloat I was going to have to do it swim it alone.

I doggie padded, swallowed a lot of water and barely made it those first few months. I learned Hubs was still in denial about Bug’s diagnosis and therefore did not take Diva’s lightly. He still has yet to go to more than a handful of each of their appointments combined. This is the point in my story I tell you about my life preserver.

She is a Army wife. She mother of special needs children. And she is funny; funny as heck. Funny is what I needed. Her understanding and laughter is what taught me to swim. Shortly after we initially meet and before any of her children were diagnosed, we ironically joined a local organization, MOPS. Through this group, we were able to be surrounded by other peers. However, to my knowledge, we were the only ones with special needs children.

If you know me, you know that wouldn’t stop me or make me feel secluded. Instead, I asked to be the guest speaker at one of their meetings in regards to understanding EFMP, children’s milestones and health. Additionally, I talked about resources and what to do if you heard that little voice screaming in your head “something just isn’t right!”.

That meeting was a gateway to open up a line of communication that would have forever been sealed. I have learned people don’t happily and openingly talk about what is wrong with their kids. They want everyone to think they are that perfect little happy family. I am here to tell you to know think that way. My life preserver and I would have never made that connection that saved us both if I was ashamed of my family.

Be open in talking.  Be open in taking.  Be a open book. If people have questions; educate them. If people have hugs; take them. If people have rude comments and stares; well……

We are all in the together. We are all bonded by the same thing and that is love for our children and our family.

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