“Helpful” Advice

Ah, advice. After nine years of raising a special needs child, advice is a trigger.

Aren’t we all guilty of giving advice? Don’t we just know what will help?

Well.. No. Unless you have cerebral palsy or have a child with CP, you don’t.

After 9 years of caring for Wawoo, I no longer give people advice about their kids. I’ve learnt that we can’t possibly know what someone else is dealing with, what works for us isn’t everyone’s fix.

A woman once told me that I was closed-minded and that I was missing the opportunity to “cure” my child. She believed in miracles. As if my not believing that there is a cure was holding my daughter’s health and life back.

Didn’t she know that if I could believe Wawoo’s condition away, it would have left as soon as it manifested?

When people throw their remedies in my face and swear that it will help, because they know a cousin, uncle, friend who has, (insert any and every condition not related to CP), and they were cured or normal, and if I would just try it I would see. Wawoo would be normal, it’s just a matter of trying their miracle.

I don’t disbelieve that remedies can help her symptoms. I know there are natural treatments that can help alleviate her ailments, but there isn’t anything that can reverse her brain damage.

There is no cure.

Believe me when I say I’ve looked for treatments, I’ve researched her condition to the fullest, I’ve tried many things to help with her symptoms. 9 years is a long time and I’ve been busy all those 9 years.

Then there is the guilt aspect of these interactions. If I’m not suitably grateful for this unasked for advice, the giver is often offended. Never mind, that I never asked for the advice, it came from a place of love. They only wanted to help. I’m being ungrateful.

This love is a burden. I neither asked for it nor need it. More often than not, it’s from someone who barely knows us, who doesn’t even bother to ask me what my daughter’s condition actually is.

If you know a person with special needs, or a family with a special needs member, don’t assume that they can be “cured”. They are not looking to be typical, they are looking for love and acceptance. If they don’t ask for advice, don’t give it. Especially if you barely know them, or don’t know what their condition is.

Just be a friend. Trust that if they need advice or are looking for something to help, they will let you know.