Special needs

Special-needs parenting: Appreciating the kindness

Anchel Krishna shares how a few simple acts of kindness has left an impact on her family.

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Syona with her little frog plush. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

Last week, I shared my reaction to a lovely story about restaurant manager Tony Posnanski and his commendable treatment of a mom and her daughter with autism.

This weekend we had our own wonderful experience. After being hit by a nasty stomach bug that managed to (thankfully) stagger its impact on us, Dilip and Syona hit the grocery store to stock up for the week. Included in this weekly grocery tradition is a quick pitstop to Tim Hortons for coffee (Dilip) and chocolate Timbits (Syona). This week, Syona got really friendly with the man who was behind them in line. He worked at the butcher counter of a nearby store and was on his break (I assume). Syona assaulted him with “Hi’s”, “Hello’s” and smiles, which is her typical way of getting the attention she adores.

The man was charmed by her ways and engaged in some conversation with her, commenting on how cute she was. Everyone got their orders and went on their way.

A few minutes later, the man found Dilip and Syona in the grocery aisle. In his hands he carried a little stuffed pink frog that made a loud ribbit sound when you pressed its tummy. He gave Syona the toy and when Dilip thanked him and said it really wasn’t necessary, the man responded by saying, “She is just so cute, and reminds me of my sister.” With that, he walked away.

Dilip wasn’t sure what the comment about the man’s sister meant. Perhaps he had a little sister with a disability. Or maybe something about Syona’s smile reminded him of his family. Whatever it was, with that gesture that man brought a huge smile to our family’s face. Syona came home from the grocery store proudly hanging on to her new toy.

After hearing the story from Dilip it got me thinking about a few of the ways people have demonstrated so much kindness to us recently.

An occupational therapist, who is part of one of our online communities, found a toy we needed to help stretch Syona at a discounted price. When she saw it randomly in a toy store she snatched it up, sent me a message on Facebook and coordinated a time for us to pick it up the following weekend.

We’ve also recently purchased a number of custom-made wooden furniture pieces that help Syona participate in our everyday life. Our favourite piece is a dining room chair that allows Syona to eat at the dinner table with us versus in a high chair. Dave, who is the owner of Special Needs Furniture, worked tirelessly with us to get it right. He understood our desire to have Syona at the dinner table and continuously adjusted designs so that she could eat with us.

And then there’s a good friend who started Allsource Depot, a home health company, after having his own son with special needs. He was tired of the overinflated costs of some of the most basic items. Families who have children with special needs already have extra financial costs and he didn’t understand why the companies supplying much-needed gear were asking families to take on even more costs. So he started a company that provided high-quality supplies at a fraction of the cost. What’s more? He personally sticks to getting it right for families because he knows what’s at stake. I’ve seen him demonstrate kindness towards his customers and to those who just need a little help or advice.

It’s the time of year where I am just so desperately waiting for the weather to warm up—and the people who warm my heart make it so much more bearable. So I’m challenging myself to bring smiles to as many people as I possibly can—provided I don’t get the same stomach bug, that is.

How do you show people kindness?