This Journey Our Life

31 Days of Support—Day 8: On receiving support from friends and family

community, Family, friendship, Parenting, Special Needs, Special Needs ParentingRachel


On this journey of special needs parenting there are days you might feel overwhelmed with every goal that your child needs to accomplish, or become physically and emotionally exhausted in caring for your child.

You feel emptied of strength with nothing left to give.  

You need help.  

Help is available more than ever before, thanks to vast improvements in technology, information sharing and the hard work of impassioned families advocating for the rights of their loved ones affected by disability.  

The various avenues to receiving support cover a wide range:

  • Professional organizations
  • Public agencies (many of which are provided at national, state, and local levels)
  • Support groups
  • Church
  • Community
  • Family
  • Friends

You will also cross paths with doctors and specialists, teachers and therapists, each providing a unique role in supporting you in the journey of parenting a special needs child.  

The question, then, is not whether support and resources exist, but whether you will utilize them.

 But some help is easier to receive than others.  

When it comes to professional organizations, public agencies, or local support groups it’s easy to receive their help because it’s their job to provide you with services. However, when it comes to more personal offers of help, receiving help can be much harder to accept for a variety of reasons.

Doubts and fears lead to questioned motives, feelings of vulnerability, and concern of burdening someone unnecessarily.  

In the meantime you continue to struggle alone, feeling ostracized in your journey. 

Though fears of being misunderstood and lack of time and energy convince us to remain within our comfort zone, it’s important to make friends outside of the special needs community.  

You must learn to reach out to others so they can reach out to you. 

Making friends should never be filled with ulterior motives, but it is important to remember that without any friends finding help will be hard. Therefore, you need to do your part in reaching out to others.  

As you establish friendships outside of the special needs community, they’ll get to know that a huge part of who you are is that of raising a child with special needs; as a result, you’ll be able to educate them on the needs surrounding your child’s disability.  

Often family members who are willing to help don’t because they are unaware of the needs.  

Help them help you by keeping them informed.  

Try sending updates via email (or a blog) by providing links to information regarding your child’s condition, therapies your child is currently doing, a recent goal they’ve accomplished, etc. This will help them become familiar with your child’s condition and what you deal with on a daily basis, allowing them the opportunity to learn how you need help.  

Still wish you had their help?

Be honest—just ask! The blessing of family is that they are willing to jump in when you need them most, and all you need to do is ask.
Rudy and I have been abundantly blessed to receive support from both sides of our family, who continue to display their love by helping any time we need it.  

Your Journey: How have you been blessed in receiving support from your friends and family? Or do you wish you had more?  Feel free to share your heart in the comments! 

Have an extra minute? Click on a box below to check out a three of my blogging friends also participating in the 31 Days series, hosted by the Nester:

31 days 2012b31 days of Pinterest - Pinned to Done button31 Days 2012