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Michelle Noehren's picture

This blog was written by Kris-Ann Race for the Special Needs Tuesday column at

When Max (my son) was diagnosed with Epilepsy, we went into a tailspin. We didn’t know what our future held and what his development would be like. Of course, everyone who knew us wanted to help and offer kind words. I know everyone meant well, but there are things that people said to us, or still say that don’t quite sit well with me. I thought it might be helpful to offer a few things I would recommend you not say to a family with newly diagnosed special needs.

1. God wouldn’t give you more than you can handle. My husband and I are not religious people. We don’t really know that God exists and take no comfort whatsoever in this statement. In fact, it makes me kind of angry. If faith and religion make you feel better about the situation, then by all means, go to church and pray for us. But please, don’t talk to me about it. Also, all of this IS more than I can handle.

2. If anyone can handle this situation it’s you two. Max was given the right parents. Again, I can’t really handle this very well. You actually have no idea how well or poorly I’m handling this.

3. It’s hard to believe there is anything wrong with him. He looks perfect. You’re right, he does. Which makes it harder to deal with all of this because when people can’t see something physically wrong with him, they are more likely to think he just has a behavior issue. However, if there WAS something visibly wrong with him, I wouldn’t want you to talk about that either.

4. Special Needs Child vs Child With Special Needs. My child’s special needs do not define him. He is not a special needs child. He is a child who happens to have special needs.

5. Everything Happens for a Reason. Please, someone tell me, what is the reason that my child has to endure this?

What are some things people say to you that you wish they didn’t?

Read Kris-Ann's column here.

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