As a psychoanalyst who works with parents of diverse special needs children of different ages, “Why me?” is a question I often hear. Parents agonize at first about how they might have done things differently to prevent the struggles their children face. They find themselves infuriated when their children are treated as outside of the norm. They feel frightened for their children who are viewed by other parents as kids to be avoided. Eventually they meet like-minded parents who accept differences and applaud their kids.
Parents seem to be asking why they are the moms and dads of a child with special needs and why their child has to face obstacles and challenges other children don’t. Caring parents ask this question because they want to learn how to really be there for their child and worry they won’t know all they need to know. I used to be puzzled how to respond to this deep emotional question that has no single answer until I discovered parents answered the question themselves by listening to their children. As parents help their children grow, what they get to hear their children say in wondrous moments are the top 10 responses to the question, “WHY ME?”