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PARENTING A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS 

Caring for a special needs child may be both rewarding and challenging. 

It can be difficult and overwhelming to be a parent of a child with special needs. It will teach you a lot about yourself, including the strength and compassion you didn’t realize you possessed, as well as the limitations and flaws you didn’t know you had. 

However, there is no guidebook or manual to help you decide what is best for your child’s growth and development, as with any other parenting style. You might seek advice from doctors, other parents, or caretakers for everything from their first steps and words through schooling and equipping them with the tools they need to be as self-sufficient as possible. 

Advice for raising a differently able child 

Here are a few pointers to assist you in managing some of the most challenging issues that come up when raising a child who has special needs. 

Know about the condition of your child 

You can identify potential medical difficulties, assist with their development, and advocate for them at every stage of life if you learn everything you can about your child’s condition. It is best to have an interactive session with your child’s doctor about the needs and requirements of your child. This will help you better understand your child’s condition, and then you can act accordingly with the doctor’s advice. Many developmental disorders impact the child’s physical health, so you must be careful with the instructions. 

Encourage independence 

Parents of special needs children may wonder if their child will ever be able to live independently. According to experts, children’s initial steps toward independence are taken at home while they are young. Teaching youngsters to do their laundry or other duties, if possible, will provide valuable experience and give them self-confidence when making their own decisions. It will also motivate them to continue seeking out their accomplishments, which will teach crucial life skills. Riding public transportation or running errands with your child will help them feel more comfortable navigating outside the home by adjusting them to more crowded areas.  

Encourage education 

All children, especially those with specific needs, find school difficult. Maintaining contact with your child’s school and teacher will allow you to stay informed about their progress. At-home involvement on in-class issues can solidify the teachings in a manner that homework can’t always do. Moreover, your child will realize how important school is to you, allowing you to lead by example. 

Playing has the potential to be healing 

Getting your child engaged in group activities such as art, camps, or sports will allow them to mingle outside of the home, allowing them to gain confidence and form lasting friendships. Furthermore, staying active through exercise and learning a new skill is beneficial to any growing mind and body. 

Being able to play effectively with others is a core ability for effective involvement in educational settings.  

It indicates they can work well in a group, learn to compromise, and accept responsibility. In social settings, self-assurance can lead to personal independence. 

Survival tips for parents raising kids with special needs 

Here’s a brief list of things that might help parents dealing with the ups and downs of life with a child who is considered “special” for whatever reason. 

Find a network of people who can help you 

Knowing you’re not alone makes things a little easier on the emotional front. 

When you find other parents on the same journey as you, you can learn new coping skills, uncover new resources, and get support from other parents who “get it.” You’ll also discover that you’re not the only parent who feels guilty about their child’s additional hurdles or is annoyed by life’s difficulties. 

Look after yourself 

“However, I simply do not have time for myself!” This is where parents have the most difficulty! Allowing yourself me-time to relax and recharge your battery is essential if you want to be the best parent you can be. 

Consider your energy as a pitcher of water: if you constantly pour out your energy (the water) but never refill the pitcher, at the end of the day, you will have nothing to give. Here are some handy tips. 

  • Allow yourself to set aside 5-10 minutes each day to focus solely on yourself.  
  • Relax by doing something you enjoy – a cup of coffee, read a few pages from an inspirational or funny book, or sit and do nothing. 
  • Put the children in their strollers or wheelchairs, pair them up with a friend, and go for a walk. The kids will enjoy the change of scenery, you will feel rejuvenated, and the environment will be cleaner. 
  • A friend’s extra help is always appreciated. 
  • Even if it’s merely 10 minutes of cardio or stretching, get some exercise.  

Maintain the relationship 

If you’re co-parenting, make sure to look after your relationship. Exhausted parents are more likely to neglect their relationship, become annoyed, and fail to communicate effectively. You should have the willingness to explain your need for assistance politely. This prevents resentment between couples from building up. Keep in mind that the other person cannot read your thoughts! Take some time away from the kids (even if it’s only 15 minutes) to talk about things other than the kids. 

Celebrate the small things 

Small successes should be celebrated. Keep track of where you’ve been so that as your child improves, you can look back and see how far they’ve progressed. Notes, journaling, scrapbooking, or blogging can all be used to keep track of your progress. Raising a special-needs child is no different. It is the small steps, the small victories, that lead to the bigger goals. Hence, celebrate everything! 

Conclusion 

Every aspect of parenting is heightened when you have a child with special needs.  

Playdates become complicated efforts that involve diplomacy, cooperation, and a lot of effort and patience. Visiting the doctor is costly, time-consuming, and anxiety-inducing. But you always have to remember that “You’re not alone in this.” There is support available, and you’ll be the finest parent your child could have! 

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