How does a parent cope with having special needs children?

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Answered by: Danielle, An Expert in the Coping With Special Needs Category
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs any person can have and it starts from the very second that tiny being takes it's first breath. Being a parent to a child or children with special needs is especially difficult. Every situation for every family will be different and each family's ability or way of coping with it will differ. As a parent to two special needs children myself, here are some of the ways I have dealt with it.

First, you must know, it is not your fault that your child has special needs. Children who have special needs are just like every other child with a little something special added in. Any parent will go to great lengths to make sure their child is happy and healthy and a special needs parent is no different. There may be different ways you go about doing it, but you do do it. If anything a parent to a special needs child will go to even more lengths to making sure their child gets the care they need. This includes things like hospital visits and getting the right equipment they need such as wheelchairs.

Second, being a parent 24/7 is exhausting. It is ok to ask for help from family and friends. Take a night out with your significant other. Go have your hair done. Have a girl's night out. Take a nap. Having some time to yourself will not make you a bad parent. If anything, it will make you a better one. Having that little bit of rest will give you extra and much needed energy to take on the daily challenges that children with special needs have.

Third, you are not alone. Even if you do not have close family and friends, there are organizations out there to offer help. All you have to do it do the research. Ask you child's pediatrician or join a Facebook group. There are many ways to connect you and your family to any outside support you may need. You can have a nurse come into your home like I did. We also had an organization called Infants and Toddlers which helped us organize things like therapy and schooling. You personally might not have an organization with the exact same name, but there is something everywhere that is willing to help families with special needs children. Also, if you know something you think other special needs parents need to know, get the information out there. Educate as many people as possible. A lot of people don't know the extent of care needed for a special needs child.

It is not always going to be easy, especially with a child who has special needs. It may never be easy. Every day will offer new and difficult challenges. You are going to cry and sometimes you will mess up. That is just a part of being a parent, even if your child does not have special needs. Look for help if you need it. Ask questions. You as a parents are not going to know all of the answers. Just trust your gut. If you think your child needs something he/she is not getting, go out there and look for it. You know your child better than medical expert.

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