Discovering You Have A Special Needs Child: You Are Not Alone 4

Remember That Time Is On Your Side

Time heals many wounds. This does not mean that living with and raising a child who has problems will be easy, but it is fair to say that, as time passes, a great deal can be done to alleviate the problem. Therefore, time does help!

Find Programs For Your Child

Even for those living in isolated areas of the country, assistance is available to help you with whatever problems you are having. NICHCY’s State Resource Sheets list contact persons who can help you get started in gaining the information and assistance you need. While finding programs for your child with a disability, keep in mind that programs are also available for the rest of your family.

Take Care Of Yourself

In times of stress, each person reacts in his or her own way. A few universal recommendations may help: Get sufficient rest; eat as well as you can; take time for yourself; reach out to others for emotional support.

Avoid Pity

Self-pity, the experience of pity from others, or pity for your child are actually disabling. Pity is not what is needed. Empathy, which is the ability to feel with another person, is the attitude to be encouraged.

Decide How To Deal With Others

During this period, you may feel saddened by or angry about the way people are reacting to you or your child. Many people’s reactions to serious problems are caused by a lack of understanding, simply not knowing what to say, or fear of the unknown. Understand that many people don’t know how to behave when they see a child with differences, and they may react inappropriately. Think about and decide how you want to deal with stares or questions. Try not to use too much energy being concerned about people who are not able to respond in ways you might prefer.
Keep Daily Routines As Normal As Possible

My mother once told me, “When a problem arises and you don’t know what to do, then you do whatever it was that you were going to do anyway.” Practicing this habit seems to produce some normalcy and consistency when life becomes hectic.

Remember That This Is Your Child

This person is your child, first and foremost. Granted, your child’s development may be different from that of other children, but this does not make your child less valuable, less human, less important, or in less need of your love and parenting. Love and enjoy your child. The child comes first; the disability comes second. If you can relax and take the positive steps just outlined, one at a time, you will do the best you can, your child will benefit, and you can look forward to the future with hope.

Recognize That You Are Not Alone

The feeling of isolation at the time of diagnosis is almost universal among parents. In this article, there are many recommendations to help you handle feelings of separateness and isolation. It helps to know that these feelings have been experienced by many, many others, that understanding and constructive help are available to you and your child, and that you are not alone.

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