Parenting Children With Special Needs

When I first considered this topic for my radio show, I thought about it approaching it from the perspective—What happens when you learn something is wrong with your child?  My initial thought behind that was that this is the way parents first feel when they receive any diagnosis ranging from hearing impairment, cognitive processing difficulties, behavior issues or physical challenges.  The very phrasing is problematic, however.

While most parents first think of their child’s challenge(s) as a wrong, that thinking often shifts into something much more hopeful.  How can you turn a feeling of loss into one of hope that spurs action?

Sue Mayer shared her experiences with me about the challenges and joys associated with raising children who have special needs.  As a mother of three children, two with special needs, Sue says, “I have had the opportunity/privilege to learn/experience with my children how each of them learns differently. My oldest son has introduced me to the joy and challenges of ADHD/Dyslexia/LD in Reading/Writing/Spelling. My daughter allows me to experience a typical child with an exceptional personality. My youngest son has educated me on the many aspects of Down Syndrome/Brain Injury/Apraxia/Dysphagia/Bi-Lateral Conductive Hearing Loss.”

Sue blogs about her experiences.  Her blog is an honest account of both the emotional highs and lows that make up her life. It’s become a fantastic resource for parents of special needs children and those who just want to understand how to help be more empathetic. 

Sue is a woman of action.  Not only does she home school her youngest child, help her oldest son to advocate for himself, encourage her daughter’s natural enthusiasm for nurturing, Sue works hard to better her community as well.  Sue was one of the founders of Possibility Playground. It is a universally accessible playground for children of all physical abilities located in Port Washington, WI. 

One the greatest things about Possibility Playground is that it was not built by any government program. It was built entirely through $450,000 in donations raised by the community. The playground was built in just six days with the help of more than 2,800 volunteers.  That’s right, no government red-tape, no government funding and it’s a fully functioning playground where all children can play together. 

For more information, listen to my interview with Sue Mayer at