Chances are when you descided to sign up for a child, Parenting a special needs child was not what you had in mind...
Children always bring many surprises into a parents life, but a special needs child, bring more than their fair share of growth opportunities
and challenges, to any family.
The first set of challenges, we look forward to is, dealing with the medical professionals.
, getting a second opinion, seeing what can be done about the disability or the illness.
and a very scary time.
Then begins the research and learning all we can about the disability or the illness...the learning curve starts!
Way too soon after the medical round-a-bout, and the
flurry, you have worry about the next issue, educating your child.
This is where other parents of special needs children and your support team are so important, to help navigate
homework, therapies and
But your education does not stop here...once you have mastered the medical, educational and day-today crises of raising a child with a disability, you
now need to add the emotional side of things as well.
You are not the only one grieving for the lost potential of your child, or worrying about their future, there are the siblings and your partner to consider as well.
Everyone grieves and worries differently, and especially when your child has a progressive disorder, this is a process that will keep repeating itself.
Having a child with a disability puts a lot of stress on a marriage, so don't be scared to go for counselling, if things get to tough.
There are many therapists who can help you reach an emotional balance within your family, to help you cope better.
Now, what about your other children?
Some siblings may feel resentment towards the disabled child, because of the amount of your time it takes away from them or the
amount of attention the other child gets. They may be embarrassed to seen with their disabled siblings or worried that they may end up with the illness or disability as well.
On the other hand, having a sibling with a disability can also teach a non disabled child empathy, pride and compassion, many positive traits very lacking in todays society.
It is very important, as a parent to give the siblings a lot of information on the disability, and answers any questions they have, as honestly as possible. Let them understand
that they don't have to be a "super Kid" to make up for what their brother or sister cannot do...
Time alone with each child is very important, and listen to their concerns. This can go a long way in creating a family where the disability is one small part of the whole picture.
So, you didn't sign up for this, but got given it in any case...take all the little pieces that make up your life,
look at each of them, and make them work for you,
and you will realise that getting more than you asked for, is not a punishment, but a blessing in disguise!
SO WHAT'S A PARENT TO DO?
So where to from here...
The disability has become your new hobby; learn all you can about about it from when your child is little to adulthood.
Realise that your family is no longer like "normal" families. Quick trips to the shops, last minute long weekends etc .are all a thing of the past.
But look on the bright side, your organisational and planning skills, as well as your advocating skills will grow in leaps and bounds.
Take time for yourself and your partner away from the disability. This is very important as having to deal with a disabled child daily, can either cause you
to pull together as a team or fall apart. Use the support of your family and friends.
I know I didn't sign up for this, but would I want it any other way...probably not!
If you're looking for something specific, here's your chance to go searching...
The Web The special needs child
Recommended Reading: Parenting a Special Needs Child