All children are of course special, but there are extra considerations that will need to be addressed when it comes to parenting special needs children. It may be as simple as dealing with a restricted diet, or else their needs may be the focus of your day. Parenting is never an easy job, but for those dealing with children needing extra care, it can be hard to find a balance.
Of course, there is no single answer as to how to best deal with any child. There are no handbooks, no guides as to what you should and should not do. There are no training courses and no qualifications needed before becoming a parent, though it sometimes seems that there should be! And yet, it is the most important job that you can ever undertake, and if your child has extra needs then it can be even more challenging.
Although difficult, parenting special needs children can truly be a gift! Every trial that you overcome is a cause for celebration and can make you see the world in a different light. That is not to underplay the difficulties faced by special needs families, but just as every child brings joy to his or her family, so too do those with special needs.
Just as every child is different in their likes, dislikes and their needs, so too are special needs children. Not only will they have different things that they enjoy, different things will calm them, and irritate them. It will be up to you to find them out.
What will also be important is that each child’s condition will affect how you need to be as a parent. A child with autism may have behavioral problems that lead to discipline difficulties, and a child with cerebral palsy or cystic fibrosis may need to spend so much time in physiotherapy or having other medical treatments every day that it dominates both of your lives.
A further consideration will be the child’s education. Those with learning disorders or with global delays that affect their ability to learn may have to undergo special education. This may be with support in a mainstream school or by attending a school that is designed to help students will similar problems.
Another essential consideration is the availability of support groups. There are now many groups online so that even if you cannot find a local group that you can attend for support, you are likely to find one online. People there may share coping techniques and discuss things that help or hinder their children’s health.
Although we are trained to put our kids first, parents of challenged children need to remember to take time for themselves as well. All parenting is a learning experience from start to finish, but when you are parenting special needs children, everyday is a whole new adventure.