Parenting a Special Needs Child

If you have a child with special needs then your role as a parent will be decidedly more challenging that you might have expected. There are several illnesses that come under the banner of special needs. These can be related to learning, behavior, development, mental health or medical issues. Whatever the category, they all require greater support, patience and application than might have otherwise been necessary. There is a tendency for parents to feel isolated and alone, however, there are resources available to provide the information and support needed.
Parents must accept their special needs child. This is perhaps one of the first things that a parent should do. The discovery is oftentimes unexpected, and the initial reactions can include denial, blame, anger and sorrow. It can be a very difficult reality for any parent to face. However, it is important that parents accept the limitations that their special needs child has. Without this, they will not be able to move on, and give the support the child needs. With this support they can develop skills the skills they do have, and do the things that they are capable of.
Parents must be resourceful. They need to ensure that their child has the best care that they need. Very often the cost of caring for a child with special needs, can take a financial toll on a family. This is especially so in the case of long hospital stays, or if there is need for very costly equipment for treatment. Depending on the needs, there are government benefits that are available. Parents should become informed and seek these out wherever possible.
Parents must seek out support. This support might be from their medical doctor, who is able to provide information and clarification on their child's illness, or from a support group. Many of these support groups are an invaluable resource, as they provide information that parents might not otherwise have been aware of.
There are state wide support organizations such as Family Voices, which advocate for better policies for children with special needs. Family Voices focuses on ensuring that these children benefit from family-centered care. Their resources provide parents with the information needed to make informed decisions.
Parents must be patient. This is a very important characteristic. There will often be times of anguish and frustration, as a result of the pressure of caring for a child's physical, emotional and other needs. Consequently, parents become stressed, impatient and often lose control. However, when that happens, it is best to step back and take a break from the situation. If not, they are likely to say and do the wrong things.
Parents must remain positive. Despite the setbacks, they must try to focus on any gains and improvements that their child makes. Every accomplishment must be applauded and encouraged.
Caring for a child with special needs can be very difficult for parents. It is best to try and take each day as it comes, and not become anxious. There is need for patience during times of difficulty, but throughout it all, remember to celebrate the successes, no matter how small they may seem.


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