This Journey Our Life

31 Days of Support—Day 29: 4 Dangers of Special Needs Parenting

Parenting, Special Needs, Special Needs ParentingRachel


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Today I'm sharing four dangers that I've encountered on my personal journey of special needs parenting.

When it comes to special needs parenting, waiting is a routine part of life.

You wait to notice improvements. You wait to witness milestones achieved.  You wait to receive answers.  In this aspect time is on your side, providing moments for opportunities to blossom.

But time can also be your enemy.

If you’re concerned about your child’s development (before or after a diagnosis), you must be proactive in seeking answers.

Remember, because you know your child best you must advocate for them—you are their voice.
When you have concerns regarding any of your children, it’s important to seek help.  Feel like your child’s pediatrician won’t listen? Find a new one who will. 

Don’t take no for an answer, and don’t wait.

During our desperate search for answers regarding several of Cami’s needs, I poured over numerous articles and books; I also spoke with and questioned several specialists, experts, and other special needs parents.

Throughout the process I learned a lot of valuable and helpful information. Due to the volume of information I absorbed, it was also easy to fall into the trap of doubt.  Soon, I found myself beginning to worry over every disorder, disease, or disability I came across in my research.

I was wasting time and energy worrying

As I mentioned above, valid concerns need to be addressed, but you must guard yourself against jumping to conclusions, stressing unnecessarily over the what-ifs or if-onlys
Don’t allow labels to distract you.  Focus your time and attention on seeking treatment for the specific, current needs of your child.

Earlier on in this series I shared about the importance of making friends within the special needs community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have friends outside of it.

It’s easy and comfortable to want only to surround yourself with people who can empathize with you and even easier to make the excuse that you’re being ostracized.

Are there situations where people will mistreat you? Situations where you’ll be left out?  Sadly, yes.

These hurts provoke fears, resulting in vulnerability and the desire to withdraw. As a result, you may avoid efforts to establish friendships altogether; but if you intentionally isolate yourself, making friends will be impossible. 

I realize you are already expending energy in caring for your child and his needs, but remember that without any friends finding help will be hard.

In my personal journey, I have found that some people choose not to reach out to our family because they don’t know how. Maybe they’re unsure of what to say? Or maybe they don’t what to do? I try to do my part to reach out to them, sharing our family's story in the process.

Avoid withdrawing by reaching out to others. In reaching out to others you help them reach out to you, educating them on the needs of your child and how it affects your family.

As parents caring for a child with special needs, we’ve all had moments of feeling sorry for ourselves.

We cringe when someone talks about typical developmental milestones. We weep when someone announces their child learned to tie their shoes. We wince when the birthday party invitations never come for our child.

These emotions are part of our journey, and it’s okay to allow yourself time to grieve; but allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity is dangerous.

For in dwelling on what might have been, you’ve missed out on being; in wallowing over moments you’ve never known, you’re missing out on moments only your own.

Whether big or small every accomplishment is victorious. Celebrate each moment, rejoicing in the beautiful gift of your child.

Your JourneyWhich of these dangers do you struggle with most? What dangers to avoid would you add to the list? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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