Many parents and carers can attest to the fact that parenthood comes with daily challenges. Caring for a child with special needs comes with a unique set of life lessons. Here are some of the main lessons that parents say they have learned.
1. You are your child’s advocate
As a parent of a special needs child, you will be your child’s biggest advocate. You spend every day with your child and that makes you an expert! Many times you will know more than the professionals. You will become
an educator not only to your child but also to others about your child.
2.Look for the bright moments
At times you will feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle of victory and defeat. This is when there is a need to look at the positive parts in life. Pay attention to every smile or laugh. Look at the little ways that your child shows you that they love you. Go into your book of pictures and celebrate how far you have come.
3. Every child’s milestones are different
Many parents have a plan for their child before they are born (what they will be when they grow up, who they will marry, where they will live). It’s important to remember that every individual is different. Every
child will develop at a different pace. Focus on your child, what they are working on and what they have achieved. Remember that every step, no matter how small, is progress.
4. You are not alone.
As a parent of a child with special needs, it’s easy to feel like you are alone. This feeling can be
strengthened in a society that is top-down and feels inhuman. It’s important to know that there are many other parents in your community. Take some time to go to local events and meet other parents. Form a community bond that offers mutual moral support. Many hands are stronger than one.
5. Presume Capabilities
You’re perceptions are as big as what you look for. If you believe your child is not capable of doing certain tasks then you may miss the little signs of competence. It’s important to prepare your child for future life. Aim for a gradual movement towards independence. Look for any areas where you can educate your child to participate in a meaningful way. Can they help wash up that dish or post that letter? You owe it to your child to keep them involved and prepared for life.
6. You know the best way to parent your child
You will make many decisions and choices that others will not approve of. However, any good psychologist will tell you that worrying about the opinions of others is unhealthy. Never let anyone tell you how to live or parent your child. Know your rights, risk hearing no and look after yourself along the way.
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