Special needs children present parents with a whole different set of challenges than those for parents of other children. Parents of special needs kids make many sacrifices to help their kids live up to their potential and hopefully achieve a quality life. Caring for a special needs child creates a unique situation for each family blessed with such a child. There are many ways to make life better for both the child and the parents; what follows are just a few tips for enriching lives touched by special needs kids.
1. Be Informed
Learn everything you can about your child’s unique condition from the medical standpoint. It is important to get the right information to further your understanding about why your child acts the way they do, and has the needs they do.
Watch your child closely to learn how they react to certain situations. Being aware of how your child reacts allows you to help them cope better when confronted with these situations in the future.
3. Learn to Cope
Anger, fear and frustration are the most common emotions parents encounter upon learning their child has special needs. Parents need to deal with these emotions for the sake of the child. Professional help offers the best avenue for learning to deal with the emotions of raising a special needs child. Parents need to learn how to constructively vent their feelings rather than keeping them inside where they fester and become toxic.
4. Let Them Fly
Pitying your child and doing everything for them will only cause you to be exhausted and the child to be completely dependent on you. Encourage the child to complete tasks they are capable of performing. Special needs children are capable of learning as much as they are allowed to learn; in other words, if you don’t let them try you will never know what they are capable of.
5. Seek Support
There are support groups all around the country whose sole goal is to support families who are raising children with special needs. Seek out a group near you and attend regularly. Support from others in the same situation as you helps ease your burdens. Furthermore, the exchange of ideas will provide you with new insight into caring for your child.
6. Don’t Forget to Live
Don’t forget to live your life; get out once in a while and interact with your friends and extended family. Every caregiver needs time to recharge and refresh. Don’t feel selfish or guilty for wanting some time to yourself; you will be a much better caregiver if you take care of your needs.
7. Expect Great Things
Be realistically optimistic and expect great things of your special needs child. Don’t limit their life with your perception of their limitations. Guide them wisely and let them develop their skills and intellect to the highest point possible. Like every other child, their only limitations are those placed on them.
Special needs children require special attention. However it is the parent’s responsibility to give them all the love and care they need while encouraging the development of the skills they will need later in life. Do you, or a family you know, have a child with special needs, and if so, what tips can you share? I'd love to hear from you!
Top Photo Credit: JeremyHall