Having a special needs child can be a very challenging, and exhausting experience. You are not alone. Many other parents too, have walked the way you are walking now. Be encouraged, because along with all the sorrow, pain and tiredness, comes a lot of joy and satisfaction. This article describes some helpful tips for parents of special needs kids. I hope these ideas will help you cope better with the challenges you face every day.
Read More About the Child’s Condition
Understanding more about your child and his disease will help you to a great extent. Go to a library and read more about his or her condition. Look for websites on the internet that provide parent information. Take down notes and check with your doctor to see if you have understood it correctly. Remember, not all children with the same diagnosis end up the same way. That’s one of the reasons why you need to make sure that you check all information with your child’s doctor.
Connect to Other Parents
Find other parents like you. They too are going through similar difficulties; maybe they have some ideas for help. Maybe you have some ideas that will help them. In today’s world connecting with other parents is a lot easier. There are many websites and forums that help parents of kids with disabilities interact and support each other. Maybe your local rehabilitation center has a parents group. Look around and you will find lots more people like you who need a friend.
Find the Right School
Schooling is an important decision to be made regarding a child with a disability. If you are going to integrate your child into regular school, look for the options you have around you. Visit different schools and talk to the teachers or principals to find out which school would be best for your child. Consider accessibility, style of teaching, and if there are other special needs children in the classroom. Read more on inclusive education.
Build a Relationship With the Doctor
Having a special needs child will mean a lot of regular check ups, medication and investigations. A good doctor will make this journey a lot easier. Find a doctor who you are comfortable talking to. Someone you can ask about all your concerns, and not feel stupid. Someone who is willing to take a few extra minutes to help you understand your child’s medical needs. However, a relationship with the doctor needs to be two sided. Be regular with administering medication. Record any differences in the child’s behavior, or illnesses so that you can answer the doctor’s questions well. Clarify instead of assuming. If you feel that a particular medication or treatment is not working out for your child, talk about it openly with your doctor.
Help Your Child be Independent
Often parents sympathize with a child with special needs and they try to do everything for the child. This is not beneficial for the child in the long run. Your child needs to learn to do things on his own, even though sometimes it’s hard work for the parents. Brushing his teeth or changing into pajamas can be a very difficult and exhausting task, but it’s worth encouraging your child to do it on his own. If the task is too difficult, give him one part to do, or help him in any other way, but make sure that he is involved. Use these techniques to teach daily living skills to your child.
Take Out Time for Your Spouse and Other Children
Sometimes when a child with special needs comes into the family, the entire world of the parents starts to revolve around the child. In the process, the spouse, and the other kids get neglected. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, consciously make an effort to spend time with your spouse. Your spouse is also going through a very difficult time physically as well as emotionally, so make sure you are there for each other. Other siblings tend to feel ignored, or unloved. They are also confused about the changes happening in their family. Spend time with them talking and showing love. These efforts will help keep your family together and bring a lot of joy and love into your home.
Give Your Child Love and Respect:
Love and respect are the two greatest gifts you can give to your child. Love him or her the way you love your other children. Make it a point to play with your child, and express that love in different ways. Also, respect your child. Although he is different, he is an individual. Your child with special needs has a unique personality, interests, likes and dislikes. Respect them. Sometimes they may not be able to express them as easily, and may not be able to force you to accept their opinion, but that doesn’t mean that they also would like their way. Help your child with special needs make simple choices for their lives, and it will help them to grow up to become wise and independent adults.
Some more resources where you can find helpful tips for parents of special needs kids:
https://www.comeunity.com/disability/speclists.html: Find a community of parents like you
https://www.our-kids.org/: Is a great place for information, advice and sharing
https://dsmspecialneedsparents.org/: A collection of great resources for parents