Parenting For A Special Needs Child

By: Cheryl Madeley

When a special needs child presents all the unique needs associated with his/her situation, parents face challenges that can sometimes be quite difficult. Certain conditions are more severe than others and can be paired with medical problems as well as developmental issues. If a child has both conditions, even daily routines can be complicated not to mention educational issues. A special needs child could also have just one issue such as asthma or severe food allergies that demand that the child's diet and surroundings are modified to take that condition into consideration. Special equipment is not stranger to some special needs children who are on oxygen, use a wheelchair, or need shots/medication during school hours. Luckily, laws require that public schools provide the modifications needed as well as a certified staff member to help if needed.

Parents do have several resources available to help their special needs child no matter what the severity level. If medical or psychological issues are too severe for the child to go to school, the parent may need to provide home schooling. Children who are extremely sensitive to germs that are found in public schools would come to harm if exposed to that situation. Obviously, it would not be ethical to send an auto-immune disordered child into that environment. If the parent is not comfortable providing the home schooling curriculum, they can turn to facilities that are trained to give such care. Many local and online support groups have formed to help comfort parents and give them encouragement when they need that support to care for their special needs child.

Another valuable resource for parents is respite care. Parents with a special needs child are under constant stress and have fewer opportunities to have time alone although they probably need that break more than parents without special needs children. If there are no family members or friends available, the parents can find respite providers that have received training to care for special needs children. Some may be nurses if the child needs medical care as well. This gives the parents the chance to recharge their batteries and to stay connected to each other. Although it is sometimes difficult to care for a special needs child, parents do have support and information if they need it. With social workers, agencies that offer their services, and other professionals who specialize in the area, parents can fulfill their child's needs as well as their own.

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