As parents of a child living with special, complex or medical needs, you may feel like you're constantly swimming upstream. You're not alone. According to a report from the National Center for Special Education Research, parents of children with special needs are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and stress than parents of children without special needs.
But there is hope. There are ways to manage the challenges of parenting a child with special needs, and many parents have found ways to thrive. In this blog post, we'll share 7 pieces of advice from parents of children with special needs.
1. Accept that you will have good and bad days.
There will be days when everything goes right. You'll be productive, you'll be happy, and you'll feel like you're on top of the world. These are the days that make all the hard work worth it.
But there will also be days when nothing goes right. You'll feel like you're stuck in a rut, you'll make mistakes, and you'll just generally feel down. On these days, it's important to remember that everyone has bad days and that you're not alone.
So accept that you will have good days and bad days. Embrace the good days and learn from the bad days. And keep moving forward, because eventually the bad days will end and the good days will return.
2. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
There is no shame in admitting that you need help. We all need help from time to time. Whether you're struggling with a personal issue or you're having with your child, it's important to reach out for help when you need it.
Asking for help can be hard, but it's important to remember that there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need assistance. There are people who are more than happy to help you, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
3. Advocate for your child and their needs.
If you're a parent, you know that advocating for your child's needs can be a full-time job. Whether it's working with their school to develop an Individualized Program Plan (IPP) or fighting for access to necessary therapies, you are the one who knows your child best and is their biggest advocate.
While it can be daunting, it is important to advocate for your child's needs. They deserve to have a say in their education and their future.
4. Create a support system.
Parenting is hard, and it's often harder when you feel like you're doing it alone. A parent support system can help you feel connected to other parents who are going through the same challenges as you. It can also provide you with a network of resources and information.
There are a few different ways you can create a parent support system. You can join a local parenting or resource groups, participate in online forums, or even start your own group. Whichever route you choose, a parent support system can be a valuable asset during the parenting journey.
5. Find a therapist or counsellor who specializes in working with children with special needs.
There are several different types of therapists and counsellors who specialize in working with children with special needs. These professionals can help children with a wide variety of issues, including developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder, and other learning disabilities.
If you are looking for a therapist or counsellor for your child, it is important to find someone who is a good fit for your family. You can ask your child's doctor for recommendations, or you can search online for therapists and counsellors who specialize in working with children with special needs. Once you have a few names, you can read reviews and get in touch with the therapist or counsellor to see if they are a good fit for your child.
6. Do not be blind to the future.
It's not always easy to talk about hard topics. Sometimes, we avoid them because we're afraid of upsetting others or of saying the wrong thing. But avoiding hard topics doesn't make them go away - in fact, it can often make them worse.
When we avoid hard topics, we miss out on the opportunity to learn and grow. We also miss out on the chance to be prepared and avoid having to deal with the issue in the hard moments
7. Listen to Your own Spidey Senses.
In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to listen to our instincts. But if we take a step back and take the time to truly listen to what our gut is telling us, we may be surprised at how accurately it can guide us.
As a parent, our instincts are a powerful tool that can help us make decisions and solve problems. When we listen to our instincts, we are tapping into a deep well of wisdom and knowledge as a parent. So next time you're feeling lost or uncertain, take a moment to listen to your instincts - you may be surprised at what they have to say.