PARENTING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

You can be a great parent to your special needs child. And you can support them in their needs, while also taking care of your own.

The knowledge that your child has special needs can affect you in many different ways. The confirmation of a diagnosis may bring you some comfort, or you may be shocked.

Either way, your mind immediately starts racing with all of the changes this will bring to your life, and your child’s life. You want to create a game plan, and feel that you have a handle on this development. And, more than anything, you want your child to be okay.

You may find yourself reflecting on your (previously unconscious) expectation of a “normal child,” or wondering if you did something wrong. And those thoughts may fill you with shame. But they have no bearing on your quality as a parent. Nor do they say anything about your love for your child. These are just natural responses to the new reality facing you.

Coping with a special needs child

As a parent, you may be going through any one of several stages of adjustment. They are:

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Anger (with yourself and the situation)
  • Resignation (including possible anxiety and depression)
  • Acceptance
  • New normal (looking to the future positively)

Similar to the stages of grief, all of these are valid emotions. They may be necessary for you to experience in order to reach your new normal. Try to be understanding with yourself as you navigate these changes in your life.

Similar to the stages of grief, all of these are valid emotions. They may be necessary for you to experience in order to reach your new normal. Try to be understanding with yourself as you navigate these changes in your life.


And the whole family may worry how this will change day to day life. These concerns can include how other people will treat your special needs child, how you will find the time to meet your child’s needs, and how you’ll handle negative financial effects.

But remember that you are not less of a parent for struggling. And your family can learn to work together. Your adjustment may take time, but building a solid support system can be a great help to you and your family.

We can help you create reliable routines for your family, that will ensure everyone’s needs are met. Besides making sure that special needs are met, it’s also important for you and your partner to take care of yourselves. And if you have other children, make sure to set aside time devoted to them as well. Listen to them, and allow them to express all of their feelings, whether good or bad.

Maintaining a routine like that will likely require you to lean on the people in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We will guide you in determining where your needs lie as a family, and point you in the right direction for further assistance, whether that entails reaching out to family or professional caregivers.

Counseling for special needs parents

This is a difficult time of adjustment for your family, and we are here to help. We know that you may be feeling lost, and unsure of next steps. But our goal is to minimize your feelings of isolation or burnout.

Besides guiding you through the various stages of adjustment, we will also assist you in implementing day to day changes. This may consist of a variety of things. It will all depend on what you and your family need. But primarily, we will address any lingering guilt or stress you may be feeling during this adjustment. And we will give you coping skills for the new daily stresses you are facing.

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This will be a process, but it is one that you and your family can work through together!

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