Why I’m Thankful – Special Needs Parents on Thanksgiving

At Vitalxchange, we are thankful for many things.  We are thankful that so many have joined our community to find the best care for our children.  We have listened to so many stories and we are heartened every day at the strength of our parents.  Your stories inspire us every day to do more and do better.

Our parent mentors VitalGuides wanted to share what they are thankful for on this Thanksgiving.  What they have written reminds us all that we are truly fortunate to have our parents, spouses, sons, daughters, grandchildren, and friends be a part of our lives.  See what they are thankful for and let us know what you are thankful for.


Why I’m Thankful

I have so many reasons to be thankful this year. Every day I’m thankful for the rich and diverse worlds that have been opened up to me because of my children through the special needs and homeschooling communities. As a special needs parent I’m thankful for getting to witness the strength, and perseverance my little Fox shows every day, overcoming challenges that for many may seem mundane, but in our house they are mountains. I’m thankful to be able to witness my children falling in love with learning that will last a lifetime. I’m thankful for the clarity our family situation has given our social lives. In our house, we don’t have time for fair-weather friends. This means the friendships we do have are so much richer and deeper.

My Grandmother had a saying “you get the child you need, not the child you want”. She said this often; she was very right, and I’m so very thankful she was.

-Heidi, Parent Mentor VitalGuide – Learn more about Heidi here


When your child is given a life-changing diagnosis, it’s a little difficult to find the blessings at first.  But, as time goes on, you get to meet some really wonderful people that you wouldn’t have met if your child was neurotypical.  Fellow parents who are going through the same things you are can be lifesavers on bad days, and your biggest cheerleaders on good days.  Therapists begin to feel like family.  They are there for your best days and help you through your worst times.  I am thankful for all of the ones who have touched our lives.  I am also grateful to have become even more empathetic as the mom of disabled kids.  When I can answer a question for a parent trying to get an appropriate IEP for their child or help a mom in the grocery store check-out line by sitting with her toddler who is having a meltdown, I am so grateful to be there for them at that moment.  I believe helpers like that are put in our path when we need them the most.  I am thankful for everyone I have met, and am honored to be that for another parent.  

-Suzanne – Parent Mentor VitalGuide – Learn more about Suzanne here


When my son was first diagnosed with autism 14 years ago, I was scared and anxious about his future, and the word gratitude was probably the farthest thing from my mind.  Today, while I would still choose to make certain things in his life easier for him if I could, my heart is full of gratitude for all of the blessings that my son, and, yes, his autism, have brought to my life.  Some of my absolute favorite people are those that we have met specifically because of my son’s autism and they are a constant reminder that there is more good in the world than bad.  My son also reminds me on a daily basis to appreciate the simple things in life and to find extraordinary joy in ordinary moments.  For these and so many other gifts my son has given me, I will always be grateful.

-Jennifer – Parent Mentor VitalGuide – Learn more about Jennifer here


The first aspect that I am thankful for is the health of my family. Last year, my entire family (including myself) had COVID, & I am so thankful that we all made it through that time. I am thankful for waking up in the morning & doing what I love, which is helping others to achieve their goals and independence. I’m thankful that I am an occupational therapist; I have the best career ever!

-Crystal – Parent Mentor, Occupational Therapist, VitalGuide – Learn more about Crystal here.


I’m grateful for all the education I’ve received and learned about over the years from my endless research on disabilities and mental health (which eventually led me to be a VitalGuide).  I’ve searched for opportunities and outcomes and met some pretty incredible people along the way. I’ve gained a ton of life experience (is there a degree for that? 😉 during this journey, and have been able to help many others with my newfound knowledge. I’m also grateful for the gains my daughter has made, and the life lessons she has learned when occasionally it’s one step forward and two steps back.

-Dani, Parent Mentor, Occupational Therapist, VitalGuide – Learn more about Dani here.


Join the Conversation on Vitalxchange

What are you thankful for during this holiday season?  To join the conversation and be a part of Vitalxchange, please visit our home page at for more information.  We look forward to seeing you in our community soon.


Happy Holidays!

The Vitalxchange Team


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