KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One in six kids between three and seventeen years old have a developmental disability. This includes serious conditions like autism, blindness, and Down Syndrome. Fox 4 is now helping bring awareness to the issue. We’re also bringing you new resources and the most recent research being done to help parents and caregivers of children with special needs.
When a baby is born, parents, like Elise McMillan, don`t know how their journey with their child will unfold.
“Having a child with special needs has been very different than what I had expected when we first found out that Will would have a disability,” McMillan said. “Having Will in our family has taught us patience, to appreciate the small things and has taught us what an important part in society people with disabilities play.”
Will`s siblings, Jim and Kate, don`t treat him any differently than a sibling without special needs.
“To them Will is Will. He better do as many chores around the house. If he messes up, they`ll let him know that. It`s been a wonderful relationship for all three of them. That is not to say there weren`t issues for them, because it`s not all rosy and if anyone tries to tell you it is, they`re not telling the truth,” McMillan said.
Challenges vary depending on the child, but acceptance is one of the toughest obstacles for children with special needs.
“I think the biggest challenge is still the attitude of our society, of including people with disabilities. Because when you can get beyond that, when people get to know our sons and daughters, they are people first and then they have the disabilities,” McMillan said.
In our next “My Special Child” report we’ll introduce you to Will McMillan, a young man with Down Syndrome who`s exceeding everyone`s expectations.