The stages are: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. With special needs parenting, it isn't a neat circle. Various stages hit at the most unlikely of times, and repeatedly for your whole life!
Depression: One night, my son came to me and said that he had growing pains and would I please rub his legs. I started crying- how many times was Chelsea having growing pains or headaches and was unable to tell me? What if in those times when she was in pain, I was annoyed at her crying? Does she resent me for not understanding?
Denial: A friend told me that they just knew they could get Chelsea to the point where she could maybe do a sheltered workshop job someday, if we just work hard enough for the next 15 years. Boom, denial. My kid can do more than a sheltered workshop! What are they talking about- she will be fine! Why can't they see her the way I do?
Anger: The school says they can only provide an "educational model" of services, so basically nothing of value to Chelsea. Services are expensive, they say. Kids just don't need as much as you are asking for.
I KNOW Chelsea is a high-dollar student! My husband and I spent every extra penny we had from working 3 jobs for therapy for that little girl, live in a crummy apartment, never eat out, never get new clothes, NOTHING because it all goes to helping her!!! And the school refuses help??? No way!!! Next stop is working yet another job to afford an advocate!
Bargaining: When planning our summer, there is maybe one or two "relax and have fun" days scheduled in. But I'm sure that if I just work hard enough, maybe she will "get better".
So I plan themed days that incorporate speech therapy, occupational therapy, self-help skills, fine motor work, gross motor activities, reading lessons, math tutoring, writing help, plan educational field trips to have fun and do community learning... Then stay up for until 1 am prepping for the next day...
Maybe if I dedicate my whole life to her, she will make incredible progress! (Which she totally will!)
Acceptance: This is the stage I love the most! When I play princess tea party with Chelsea, or snuggle up with some books, or have my heart BURSTING with pride about every accomplishment, I feel pure happiness, which is what I want for Chelsea! Just to feel loved and have a happy life!