Encourage Parents of Special Needs Children

Encourage Parents of Special Needs Children

Being a parent is hard, but being a parent to a child who has special needs can be exhausting and overall consuming of your time and life in general. Between the doctor appointments, therapy sessions, and school IEP meetings you can feel overwhelmed and often like you're fighting the battle alone. Finding the right support and help is as crucial for you as it is your child.

Honestly Communicate

Communication is not only important, but imperative to navigating the world as a parent of a special needs child. You must remember to be honest about your thoughts, feelings and needs when it comes to your child. His doctors, therapists, and teachers are great resources and can give you valuable information and ideas, as well as being able to put you in touch with organizations that may benefit both of you.  It is also very important not to view that asking for and accepting help as a weakness, but you being strong enough to acknowledge that you are overwhelmed and are open to new ideas that may help.

Keeping a journal is a great way to, not only put your thoughts and feelings down into words, but also to keep track of events, ideas, or any questions or concerns you may have. It will make it easier to reference and organize past thoughts and feelings, so you can bring them to the attention of your child's doctor or therapist if needed. You can also monitor his struggles and triumphs and be able to set up realistic goals for him.

Get Involved

Joining support groups (in person or online) can help alleviate some stress and help you realize that you are not alone. It is also a good way to give and/or receive advice or suggestions that you may have never thought of. A lot of national organizations, such as the National Autism Society, have local chapters that may be available in your area, with monthly support meetings. If a less personal and less structured group is more your style, try to find online support groups or blogs that you can access when it is convenient for you.

Set up play dates with fellow parents. Pick generally liked activities/locations such as going to the park or pool or having an ice cream mini social.

Take Some "Me" Time

Being worn out and overwhelmed can make your life seem very frustrating. Try and incorporate a few minutes of "me" time each day, where you can relax and focus on your own well-being. Whether it is a relaxing bubble bath after your child is in bed, or 5-10 minutes of yoga while he is at school, or finding a sitter and enjoying the occasional date night with someone special, the choices and benefits are endless. Taking care of him means taking care of yourself as well, by allowing yourself time to recharge your batteries.

Sources: SpecialNeeds.com | FriendshipCircle.org | KidsHealth.org

Encourage Parents of Special Needs Children
~ Shandy Marso, Contributor
Carolina Pediatric Therapy © August 2014

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