Among children in the United States, it’s estimated that over 6 million of them have a disability of some sort.
Raising a child with special needs requires extra thinking, planning, and stamina on the parent and the surrounding family. Some parents might feel isolated, lonely, and struggle for a long time to figure out how to properly address their child’s unique set of needs.
Let’s take a peek inside the struggles of being a special needs parent, what that looks like, and paths for smoother parenting.
What are Special Needs?
When talking about a child with special needs, what’s implied is that the child has specific needs that most children do not. The needs are diverse and depend on the condition or the disability. The help the child needs will often touch on parts of their lives relating to movement, decision making, behavioral and emotional regulation, and communication.
For example, a child with dyslexia is going to have a challenging time learning how to read, or a child who is hard of hearing will need someone as an interpreter. Both of these children need help to be able to learn properly.
Some special needs might include:
- Down Syndrome
- Visual inabilities
- Hard of hearing
- Language disorders
- Injuries related to the brain
All of the above (and more) require additional care, yet not every need is the same, which is why it’s important to have individualized therapy or care.
The Struggles of Being A Special Needs Parent
Parents of special needs children love their children and want to see them thrive in any environment. However, it’s not always that easy.
Here are some challenges that special-needs parents face.
Family And Relationships
One of the biggest hurdles many parents face is within their own families. While family members should be the most empathetic and eager to help, the parent’s relationships may suffer, or other family members might not understand the disability and are hesitant to jump in and help.
Since raising a child with special needs can take up most of your time, this bleeds into other areas of life, such as maintaining other relationships with friends. As a parent, you might not see your friends for quite some time, and that can be draining.
Often, special needs children need to work harder on their life and learning skills than others. This means they may be placed in a special education class at school and be separated from their friends.
Friendships With Other Children
Many times, the children may have difficulty making new friends or question their self-esteem. Their social life may be small or even non-existent, and this can be hard for a parent to watch their child struggle with making friends.
Accessibility And Adaptability
Not all special needs parents find traveling a challenge but some do, especially if that child is navigating differently, by using a wheelchair or something similar. Parents need to ensure that there’s accessibility to places like the bathroom, site-seeing, or activities while you’re on vacation, hotel rooms, and so on to make sure there will be a place for their child.
Some special needs children have an aversion to clothing or need a special type of clothing. This is especially true for children with sensory disorders who notice the slightest offset in their socks, pants, and so forth. Keeping a child comfortable and calm is essential to their continued growth.
Understanding Your Child
For children with communication needs like autism or hard-of-hearing, it can be a struggle at times to understand what your child needs or wants. Not being able to properly communicate with your child is heartbreaking for many parents and is a hurdle to forming a solid relationship with them.
Things to Remember
No doubt being a special needs parent has particular challenges. But parents often find themselves misunderstood, alone, or in trouble with other people. They also have the role of making sure their child receives the best care for their disabilities, and this is easier said than done.
Here are a few important things to remember when the going gets tough for special needs parents and their children.
You Are Covered Under The Law
Special needs children (and people) are especially susceptible to abuse and discrimination of many kinds. Abuse comes from caretakers, teachers, family members, and sadly, parents. This makes it impossible for children to get the help they need.
The good news is that there are laws in place to cover these problems that often seek to support the educational and human rights of children with special needs. If you want more information about these types of laws, learn more today.
Find Support Groups
Though it often feels like it, you are not alone. Raising a child with special needs is no easy task.
Thankfully, there are support groups that exist that offer validation and encouragement when they’re feeling lost or lonely. This is a wonderful opportunity to form friendships and talking with other parents who ‘get it’.
Special Needs, Special Kids
Raising a child with special needs takes an extra dose of patience and persistence. The struggles of being a special needs parent are struggles you deal with daily to make sure your child has the best chance for thriving in this world. You are your child’s most important advocate.
Are you looking for more parenting tips? Visit our website today to learn everything you need to know.