Somedays more than others I feel an extreme amount of pressure. There is so much pressure raising kids in general and even more so when your child has special needs. In regards to Olivia (my perfectly typical daughter) we ensure that she is enriched socially, cognitively, physically and emotionally.
With Oscar (my perfect neuro- atypical son), the pressure is different. Even though my goals with him are essentially the same as with Olivia (to ensure he is enriched socially, cognitively, physically and emotionally) the pressure can sometimes be too much.
When I look into the future, I expect that Olivia will excel academically and will eventually graduate high school, go to university, get a good job, move out on her own, support herself and maybe start a family of her own. When it comes to my expectations for Oscar… I don’t know what is appropriate.
My son’s diagnosis causes a spectrum of delays/disabilities ranging from mild-severe across all areas of development. I hope that he will graduate high school. But a typical high school? I don’t know. Regardless, I expect that he will need accommodations to accomplish this. Will he be appropriate for post-secondary education?… I don’t know. Will he be able to move out on his own and take care of himself and support himself?… I don’t know.
This is the pressure that my husband and I feel and I think is a common pressure amongst parents raising a child with special needs. We are dedicated to his therapies to provide him with the best opportunity to be his best version of himself. Unfortunately, we are no longer naive to the fact that he may always be limited by his diagnosis.
My husband and I are in are late 30s and are financially planning for our retirement. The other big pressure is that we are also financially planning for Oscar’s future too. I do not want Olivia to be financially burdened by her brother. If he is unable to take care of himself and when we are no longer around to help him, I would at least love for him to be financially independent (and hopefully Olivia will help him manage his finances).
I know what I can expect for Olivia’s future, I don’t have that same luxury for Oscar’s. So, we are planning for the worst, but hoping for the best. We are dedicated to his therapies (no, he can’t miss a day) and we are dedicated to creating an investment profile for him.
It is an extreme amount to pressure to feel that every moment of everyday could impact your child’s future (in my case, both of my children’s futures). But this is how I feel. And somedays, the pressure of it all can be too much and I break.
But I can’t break too long because then we have to get back to work.