Amsterdam Syndrome

Luggage belt 4 at .

Luggage belt 4 at . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the things you encounter when you search the Internet and lurk in chat rooms on special needs as much as I do is the platitudes about how being the parent of a special needs child makes you special. These take the form of everything from little ditties about how God chooses special parents for special children to an essay about how discovering you have a child with special needs is like ending up in Amsterdam when you meant to go to Rome. Another special needs blog, Uncommon Sense, has very eloquently re-written the “Welcome to Amsterdam” thing, highlighting how having a child without a diagnosis is not just like ending up in the wrong European city, but much more – a post I (and it appears many others) greatly enjoyed. (If you’d like to read it, see

It is actually the little “special child, special parents” ditties that annoy me the most at the moment. Having Lil Z doesn’t make us special, nor does it mean we’re better able to cope with her needs than anyone else. If God or whatever powers that be really wanted to give her the best family, she would have been born as an only child to a Paediatrician and a Neurologist, both who lift weights in their spare time (and therefore can hold her for hours, despite the fact she’s a dead weight and doesn’t cling), have endless patience and time to do physiotherapy with her and are Australian citizens, so they can access all the services in the country (something we cannot currently do because of our visa status). Now that would have been a special family for her.

Instead, she’s stuck with QB and me. We love her and we do our best for her, but I often worry its not enough. I could list all our faults, all the times when we didn’t have enough time or patience, all the times we were tired or frustrated, all the times we got cross with her, even though we knew she couldn’t help it. However, that would be self-pitying, not to mention make for some really boring reading.

I know the platitudes are meant to make me feel like I’m doing something special, but in reality, I’m not. I would not have chosen to be a parent of a child with special needs, but I was not given a choice. I do it because she’s my child and I will do what I need to do to keep her safe and well, like most other parents on the planet. There’s nothing special about that.


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