Parenting a Child With Special Needs
Childrens Health > Parenting a Child With Special Needs
Although you may need to adjust your expectations, there is just as much to love about parenting when you parent a child with special needs.
It is perfectly normal to experience a period of adjustment and mourning when the child in your life is not the child of your dreams. With time it will become easier to focus on all of the wonderful gifts your child does possess rather than the abilities s/he does not have.
You may want to consider joining or starting a support group for parents of children with special needs. Far from a pity party, you are organizing a supportive environment in which to discuss atypical ages and stages, and to share/seek advice on dealing with challenges.
Regardless of the delay or disability, children with special needs must be physically, emotional and intellectually engaged. There is a wealth of information available from health care professionals, print and electronic resources. Avail yourself of all that you can to help your child develop to his or her fullest potential.
You may feel like your life is an endless whirl of therapists and doctors when you imagined soccer games and dance practice. Be willing to exercise your creative juices by tracking down ways to provide your child, and yourself, typical (unrelated to doctors/therapists) experiences.
It can be difficult to constantly field questions and comments from the curious, or just plain rude. It is best to handle insensitive or unsympathetic comments from friends and strangers with pre-planned responses. You will be less flustered if you plan ahead with a response that sets the commenter straight without hurting or putting your child on the spot.
Parents of children with special needs may be especially reluctant to take time away from the rigors of parenting. You may worry that no one else can properly care for your child. Of course there is no one that will care for your child as you do, but there is someone you can trust to care for him or her for a few hours every now and again. Interview and compile a list of candidates you can call on when the need or desire arises.
Parents of children are no different than parents of typical children. You will still need to connect to the parts of yourself that are not related to your role as a parent. Parenting children with special needs need not equate to martyrdom. There is plenty to enjoy when you open yourself to the possibility.