Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Parenting a Child with Special Needs - Challenges
Parenting always has its challenges, but when you are parenting a child with special needs, those challenges are multiplied. As their parent, you are going to need to learn all kinds of new skills. You may find yourself needing to be your child’s advocate, helping your child make friends, and making medical decisions you never thought you would have to make.

Parenting a Child with Special Needs – Some Advice from a Special Needs Child
As a disabled young woman, I would like to share some helpful advice for parenting your child with special needs. I understand that all children are different and have unique needs, so be sure to do what is best for your child in your particular situation.

  • Make sure to take care of yourself.
    First, know that it is right and natural to go through a grieving process. Parents usually have hopes and dreams for their children. Discovering that your child has a special need sometimes obliterates those dreams. Talk this through with those close to you, especially your spouse. Grieve together. And if there are issues that you and your spouse can not seem to resolve by yourselves, please get help for your problems. Christian counseling is a great option. You and your children will have enough to deal with without having the stress of a divorce on your hands.

    You may think that you are the only person capable of caring for your special needs child, but you are going to need some time away. Find people you trust who are willing to learn how to care for your child. You are going to need some down time, and time with just your spouse as well.

  • Help your child fulfill his or her dreams
    Encourage your child in the gifts God has given him or her. God has given your child abilities just like He has given everyone else. Find out what those gifts are, and help your child develop them. For example, maybe your child loves art. Try to get her into art classes. Or maybe music is his passion. Look into helping him learn to play an instrument.

    My parents know that I’m interested in writing, so they have helped have the resources I need to develop my skills.

  • The tricky business of friendships
    Helping your special needs child makes friends can be rather tricky. On one hand, you don’t want to leave your child in a situation where he knows no one and hope he can figure it out for himself. On the other hand, you don’t want to be the only one talking. Finding the right balance is different for everyone. Talk to your child and see how he or she feels, and how much they want you to be involved.

    Use your best judgment when it comes to letting your child play with friends. Children with special needs are particularly susceptible to abuse of all kinds. It may be good to supervise all play dates until you know the other child and their family well.

    Your special needs child will likely grow less dependent on you as they mature. They will want to be alone with their friends more, instead of always having you, their parent, around.

  • Be involved in your child’s education
    I also recommend that you become as highly involved in your child’s education as you possibly can. Some schools do really well with special needs kids. Other schools basically provide daycare for the children, and hardly provide the kids with an education at all. Being very involved will help you assess what your child is learning and whether the school is the right fit.
Parenting a Child with Special Needs – Finding Support I would also really encourage you to get to know other families with special needs children. Learn from them and ask questions of more experienced parents. If you do not know any parents of special needs children, consider online resources. You will find many discussion boards you can join and possibly local support groups you can attend.

Remember Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Parenting a child with special needs can be exhausting. Turning to the Lord in your times of need will refresh and make you a better parent. The Lord does help us any time we may need Him.

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