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He Likes it BUMPY!

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Honestly, I’d have never guessed my son with special needs would like a bumpy plane ride. For most of us, we clamp our hands around the arm rest exposing our white knuckles trying to act like we’re really reading that book in our other hand and actually comprehending it. Sure, we’re doing just fine! Meanwhile Joey acts like he’s on a fun ride at the amusement park!


Bumpy is exactly what life is like with a child with special needs. They seldom respond or react like we think or say they will. When asked how Joey will do in certain situations or respond to others, I generally say, “Our Joey will make us liars every time!” It’s not intentional on either of our parts, it’s just life. If I think he’ll get upset about something that is the time he behaves wonderfully. And when I think he’ll handle a situation well, well….maybe it doesn’t work out quite that way!


In some ways this way of life is challenging and quite difficult. It means we:


  • Don’t know how our child (or adult child) with special needs might react.
  • Always need plan B and C (and D, E, F) ready in our back pockets – just in case!
  • Might need to head home even though we want to stay at some activity.
  • Sometimes get frustrated because few things go “our” way.


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On a positive note, not being sure of how things will turn out for any given situation, we’ve learned some important things:


  • Not every single thing is as important as we think it is. Not too much ruffles our feathers!
  • We are a lot more flexible than were ever were and often more so than others around us.
  • We’ve learned to adapt to interruptions that are often ongoing.
  • We find genuine happiness and appreciation in the small things.
  • There are a lot of things most people take for granted that we don’t.
  • We recognize the privilege of getting to care for our child.


So while we don’t always appreciate the bumpy ride, we know we’re in it for the long haul and we try to make the best of it. Still….we’ll take that smooth plane ride, any day – we just don’t count on it!


© Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi have been married since 1979, live in Cleveland, OH, have 3 grown children (one with special needs), grandchildren, and enjoy speaking and writing together on topics related to marriage and family (FAMILYLIFE’S “WEEKEND TO REMEMBER Get-A-Ways” as well as for organizations pertaining to special needs), leadership, and time/life management. Joe has practiced dentistry since 1978; Cindi enjoys writing (books, blogs, articles, etc.), speaking, radio, and social media. Together they have written articles and blogs for Focus on the Family, FamilyLife, and here at FamilyMatters, and authored UNEXPECTED JOURNEY: When Special Needs Change our Course. They’d love to connect with you at: or



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