3 Life-Lessons I’ve Learned From My Child With Special Needs.

*Editor’s note- this post originally appeared in Mike’s column on Disney’s Babble.com. To read more of Mike’s posts on Babble click here.

I never thought my child’s special need would teach me how to be a better human being. But here I am, 7 years later, learning so much from his beautiful spirit and unique perspective on the world around him.

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I hear the front door of our house open and shut swiftly on a warm summer afternoon in Central Indiana, where we’ve made our home for the past 15 years. It’s a few days before school start and all of my kids are a bit stir crazy. The unbearable August heat drives us inside most days by the time the clock strikes 12.

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If we had a dollar for every time someone said, “Well, he doesn’t look like he has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,” we’d be millionaires. The truth is, our child’s disorder makes it hard to see the forest for the trees.

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I remember the first time my son stepped up to the plate the first year he played baseball. He held his bat like a pro. He not only looked like a miniature major league player, he acted and performed like one. With one swing, he sent a fastball up the middle of the diamond, straight into center field. When the center fielder bobbled the ball, my son had the wits about him to chug ahead, safely into second base. The crowd of parents, including us, went wild. One father turned to me and said, “You got yourself one heck of a ball player there!”