It’s a good question. I know why you’re asking it. I’ve asked it myself many times. The answer is pretty simple. But also sort of complicated. There are hundreds of reasons why. These are just a few:
- Because finding amazing support shouldn’t be an Olympic sport.
- Because not everyone is comfortable asking people for help or knowing where to start.
- Because the best help and recommendations for support for me came from other parents—once I got the confidence to open up and talk about our challenges.
- Because there aren’t enough hours in the day to google everything you need.
- Because while other family schedules are filled with travel soccer, dance, baseball, basketball, etc., ours is filled with speech, occupational therapy, ABA therapy, tutors, and more. And, just like parents who want their child on the best team, we want our daughter to have the best help and support.
- Because you may feel alone and overwhelmed on a journey that so many others are having.
- Because doctors and teachers can’t connect you with other families and kids who are just like yours.
- Because there are heartbreaking moments.
- Because there are amazing moments to celebrate.
- Because we need to focus on the positive, when everything can be so negative.
- Because the “special” in special needs also means amazing and awesome.
I could go on, but I will just say this. There is one “because” that rises above all the others.
Because it’s our daughter.
Our daughter was born happy and healthy. She was our first and the first grandchild. Loved and spoiled, it wasn’t until the age of 3 that we saw challenges in development, communication, and more. Testing and therapies followed. Tears, frustration and bullying. Love and glimmers of hope through the years. And then finally, the autism diagnosis.
And, throughout our journey, I couldn’t help but notice how hard it was to be a special needs parent. It was hard to find good resources and recommendations because you were left to your own devices. And, at first, I wasn’t very vocal. I wanted to quietly find help online and move forward. It wasn’t until out of frustration (a frustration even googling couldn’t solve), I finally started talking about our challenges with neighbors and friends. To my surprise, I found some families that were up against the same challenges and seeking the same help. And through these connections, we found amazing therapies, support, and tutors.
But then I thought to myself, what if I hadn’t found these connections? Or even found the courage to talk about our challenges? And, why is it so hard? I knew it didn’t need to be. Maybe there could be a place for me—and all the other parents out there like me.
What would that space look like? I had a few ideas.
- I wanted to develop a positive, empowering space. A space that looks at the future of special needs and doesn’t back down, but rather says, “Bring it on, you’ve got this!”
- A place with real help that I can try with my child and my family—provided by fellow parents, experienced teachers, and expert researchers.
- A place that provides amazing recommendations specific to my area, rated and reviewed by parents just like me.
- A place where my child could connect and find her BFF. I wanted to directly address the social side of this experience that leaves so many lonely. Surely there were other kids just like her that she could form strong relationships with and begin to grow socially.
I wanted to stop going it alone. I wanted to build a big partnership. The biggest partnership I possibly could. And, so, that’s why Cahootles. Because, after all, it takes a village, right? We’re just one family. But all of us families together? We’re a village.
And we will be unstoppable. That’s why Cahootles.