Monday, January 28, 2013

Welcome to the Land of the Lost

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you are no doubt familiar with the essay “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. If not, click here to read it.

It is a beautiful piece that attempts to describe the experience of raising a child with special needs. It compares special needs parenting to the experience of preparing for a vacation in Italy, but instead, arriving in Holland. The author explains that although Holland is not the expected destination, it becomes a beautiful place to live nonetheless.

While I enjoyed the piece and found much comfort in reading it, my experience raising children diagnosed with special needs, feels somewhat more…intense.

My holiday excursion did not land me in Italy, or Holland, or Paris, France, for that matter. 

Nope, I ended up here.

I was abruptly transported to “The Land of the Lost”, a 1970’s well-loved television adventure series produced many years before the invention of special effects!

It is the story of Rick Marshall and his two children Will and Holly. During a routine expedition, they experience an earthquake of epic proportions that sends their tiny raft over a 1,000 ft waterfall and into an alternate universe filled with dangerous creatures and mysterious technology.

Like the Marshalls, I too am trying to find my way home.

Not because there is no beauty in this strange new land.

On the contrary, like Holland, the prehistoric environment is beautiful, the adventures exhilarating and interesting…..

But it is a land I don’t understand.

Often it is difficult to know what or whom to trust. And although I search and search, there are few inhabitants of this hostile new world who truly understand my predicament. It is difficult to create a sense of normalcy in this uncomfortable new setting. I struggle to understand the unique and sometimes dangerous environment.  Everyday life becomes a series of challenges, a sport designed to test my ability to manage chaos and save the lives of my children. And while it is indeed a wild and exhilarating experience…

I am just so darn tired of running away from dinosaurs and sleestaks all of the time.

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When not running from slow moving reptiles or a toothy T-Rex, Lisa Peters can be found writing about her special needs parenting adventures at Please come visit to learn more about our family life dealing with the exhilarating challenges of Prader Willi Syndrome and Aspergper's/ADHD. Thank you for reading. 


  1. Love this description, I know I've met a few Sleestaks along the way!

  2. Great piece! I despise the Welcome to Holland essay -- only loved it for about two months back in the dark ages of diagnosis and immediate aftermath, before I found the pre-Internet group with a newsletter titled "Mothers From Hell."

  3. This is more like my travels through Autismland.

  4. Interesting post on raising kids with special needs; and cool idea to add the video footage. I also found the early days rather overwhelming and exhausting. Hope it all gets better for you.