Empathetic Kids with Special Needs

I just put my grandson down for a nap in his pack and play.  He’s not too thrilled with the idea and is letting all of us know by screaming at the top of his lungs each and every one of his objections.  It’s rough when all you want to do is seek the next adventure and then, without your permission,  you find yourself stuck in the ‘Nite ‘Nite Zone.

The protesting dies down to resigned whimpers as we all try and stay as quiet and still as we can so as not to make the napper think he may have a chance of being offered a reprieve.

An empathetic little boy with Down syndrome

Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Parker  quietly make his way over to his nephew and reach down to reassuringly pat his nephew’s head as though to convey the promise that nap time will indeed end, and great adventures once again begin.

With tired eyes beginning to close, but not quite comforted, I watch as Parker slowly drops down his beloved chewie to the occupant below.  As the nephew grabs the golden ring  and proceeds to put it to use, Parker is in an interesting predicament.  If he moves, the nephew will lose the chewie and begin crying again.  Yet the  position Parker  has to stand in to maintain comfort for the nephew is decidedly uncomfortable.

I imagine Parker remembering the times he’s been scared, sad, or hurting and those that love him and what they have done to make him feel better.  Because of his medical history, he’s experienced these feelings often enough to be able to recognize them in others.

I wait a few minutes and then quietly walk over to the pair and softly remove the chewie from the now sleeping nephew’s hand and lead my Brave Hero over to where I have set out his favorite books to read with him.  The love in my heart explodes with each step.

My son’s intellectual delays haven’t prevented him from developing one of the most valuable gifts known; the gift of empathy.  Empathetic kids with special needs.

We should all be so wise.

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