Special Needs Moms Need Your Support
The birth of a child with a disability can have profound effects on a family. It can alter expectations, create new roles and change the way a family functions.
Parents and family members need to be informed and involved in planning services for their children with disabilities. They also need to know that they have rights.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
The parents of children with disabilities are often in need of both emotional and practical support. The former can be found in their family and friends, who may be able to offer companionship or a listening ear. The latter can be obtained from specialist groups, who can provide advice and guidance for dealing with various aspects of disability.
In addition to this, it is also important for special needs parents to find ways to help themselves and not feel completely overwhelmed. This can include making a schedule that prioritizes tasks, writing down the steps needed to do an activity, or even asking for help from others in their household. These steps can help to reduce the risk of burnout.
This is particularly true for parents who do not have the support of family and friends. These parents may not be able to get out and enjoy social events or hobbies as often because they must worry about having someone to care for their child. They also may have a revolving door of nurses and healthcare professionals in their home, which can take away from the privacy they would like to have.
If you know a parent of a child with disabilities, consider asking how you can help them out. This could be as simple as bringing over a meal or watching their child so that they can have some time to themselves. It is also possible that they may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of grants that do not have to be repaid. The best way to find out about this is to visit a website like Easter Seals, which can connect you with local resources.
2. Don’t be afraid to be honest.
As a special needs mom, you will be faced with a number of worries and concerns. But you will also learn to push those negative feelings to the side and find joy in the smallest things. That’s why it is so important to be honest with your special needs friend. You need her support. She is not “other” or “different”. She is just your friend.
Whether her child has Down syndrome or has a condition that you don’t even know about, chances are, she will be facing many of the same challenges that you face. So don’t be afraid to share your fears, worries and joys with her. She will be grateful that you did. And it will help you both to remember that you’re not on different planets.
3. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable as a special needs mom can be terrifying. It involves acknowledging and validating painful emotions that are often repressed by our culture. But allowing yourself to experience these emotions can actually reduce your anxiety.
The emotional vulnerability of special needs parents may be even greater than those of non-disabled people. They are often pushed to their limits by the constant demands of caring for their child. In addition, they are at higher risk for burnout and depression than other parents. So it is important for them to find ways to take care of themselves. One way is to find a trusted therapist or counselor who can help them process their emotions and feelings.
This is why it is so important for special needs parents to be vulnerable. They must remember that they are not alone and that there are other parents who understand their struggles. They also need to reach out for support from other professionals, such as therapists and psychiatrists. This can help them refuel their energy and stay emotionally healthy.
Another way to be vulnerable as a special needs mom is to talk about the issues that affect her and her family. For example, many people with disabilities rely on government benefits like SSI and Medicaid to survive. These benefits are not always enough to meet a person’s needs, so they need to create a special needs trust to secure their future.
It is also important for special needs parents to be vulnerable in the classroom. This can promote deeper thinking and strengthen relationships with students. It can also encourage students to be more authentic in their responses. But it is important to be careful when sharing personal stories in the classroom as some students may take advantage of it.
4. Don’t be afraid to laugh.
Laughter is not only a joyful emotion, but it also helps to relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Laughter has even been shown to be therapeutic for people with chronic diseases or those in recovery from addiction. So why not try to find the humor in everyday situations, or think about a positive memory that makes you smile? Research shows that reminiscing can help to buffer your stress responses. Just remember to be careful not to laugh at things that could hurt someone else.
5. Don’t be afraid to love.
Whether they are raising a child with special needs or caring for a loved one, these moms need your support.
Have you ever been confused about how to respond to a special needs mom after she shares her child’s diagnosis? Or worried about how to check in with a friend when her child is struggling?
Parenting is a hard job, and that’s even more true for special needs parents. But if you really love a special needs mom, you will be brave and learn how to embrace the unique challenges of her journey.
Paula and Lance have adopted or fostered children with a wide range of needs and they can testify that it’s been full of joy. They learned that the most important thing was to truly see each child as a person, not a medical condition.
Sadly, we’ve seen far too many Special Needs Mom memes that encourage a divide. They create the impression that there are only two kinds of moms: special needs parents and everyone else. It’s time to change that narrative. Learn how to support and love a special needs mom by listening to this episode. It will bless her to know that you care.