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Supporting Special Needs Parents

Being a parent is hard. Being the parent of a child with special needs brings it to another level entirely. There are countless reasons that special needs parenting is exhausting ... and then add to that exhaustion a sense of isolation. Many parents feel alone … worried … overwhelmed. What can friends and family do to help?  Here are ways that to express that you care: 

  • Offer to babysit so Mom and Dad can go out.  Ask if you could watch the children while they go to the grocery store, on errands, or even take a nap.  Give them an afternoon of self-care, pampering, or just time to do nothing.
  • Educate yourself on the special needs world - it really is a different world.  Take time to become educated about the specific diagnosis of the child.   
  • Offer to accompany the parent to the child's medical and therapy appointments.  Getting a child with unique needs into a doctor's office and situated can be quite difficult.  If the parent has other children, offer to watch the other kids so Mom and Dad can go to the appointments alone with the special needs child. 
  • Give Moms and Dad an opportunity to share what’s in their heart and then listen.  Many parents feel disconnected from the world, themselves, and their families.  Reach out to them - let them know they're NOT alone. Don’t pretend like nothing is happening. 
  • Talk about your own kids' personalities, not their accomplishments.  It can be hard to be around typical parents, especially when they're bragging about their kids' accomplishments. Let's talk about who our kids are instead of what they can do.
Some of the greatest needs special needs parents have are understanding and friendship.  When friends and family take the time and effort to tangibly show these parents that they care, you become a connection they desperately need.  You join “their team.”

Please visit www.JustBreatheCT.com to see the services that we offer special needs and typical families.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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