The birth of a child brings an outburst of emotions for the parents, with expectations starting to soar high when you bring home your tiny tot. However, the happiness can soon turn into dismay and disappointment if the little bundle of joy is born with a disability. The news can break your hearts and overwhelm you with a mixed stream of emotions of grief, disbelief, guilt, shock, and sorrow. Parents are then left to mourn the loss of their “idealized child.” True, parenting a child with special needs is a life-altering experience. Fortunately, with support, guidance, preparedness, and access to the right resources, raising a child with special needs can be a life-affirming experience.
Tips on Parenting a Child With Special Needs
Families of children with disabilities may feel overwhelmed with a unique set of challenges and opportunities, which vary depending on the nature of the child’s disability. The opportunity certainly comes with the potential to deepen the parental-child bond.
Here are some tips to raise a child with a disability:
- Research about the cause of your tiny tot’s disability
- Learn from reliable sources about the disability and diagnosis
- Join a support group to connect with parents of kids with disabilities – such support can come in handy to deal with the stresses and tribulations of parenting a child with special needs
- Learn from the parents of children with disability
- Find programs to help your baby live a better life
- Stick to a daily routine
- Avoid negativity and stay positive
- Take good care of yourself and do not feel demoralized
Your Confidence is Indispensable When Raising a Child With Disability
It’s easy to let your guard down and feel demoralized when parenting a child with disability. But you love your baby and want to do it all for him. It’s your confidence that will lift your child’s spirit and make him strong enough to face the world that seems stranger to him. Never let the thought “I am different” from other kids affect your child’s strength and spirit.
Your thoughts and acts will help nurture “self-determination” in your baby. After all, you want your child to have a sense of control over his life. You will not be there for him forever.
Your work starts immediately as soon as the news is broken to you.
It is heartbreaking to see your child struggling with a disability, but take heart from the fact that you are not alone. Millions of parents around the globe are fighting it out and raising a disabled child.
So when it comes to raising a child with special needs, it’s a good idea to celebrate the arrival of your little bundle of joy, even if he is not “perfect.”
Alternatively, you should start with setting short-term goals and work to attain them.
Divide Caretaking Responsibilities
Looking after a child with special needs can be a daunting task. To help with this, parents should openly discuss and divide their caretaking responsibilities so every single responsibility is evenly managed, even though it comes at the cost of giving up large portions of your leisure time.
If one parent takes on a primary caretaking role, nothing else can compare with the special care. It takes time to learn how to deal with behavioral challenges, confusion, and physical demands. When one parent is the primary caretaker, things slowly start to look easier.
But it is equally important to take care of yourself, eat right, get adequate sleep, and take time for activities you enjoy when you are the primary caretaker. The occasional respite from caretaking responsibilities can be rejuvenating when it comes to parenting a child with a disability.
Alternatively, it is important that parents keep the communication lines open and discuss their feelings and experiences of dealing with the situation. True, raising a child with a disability is challenging, but sharing responsibilities and accepting the child as he is can bring them closer together.
Parenting a Child With Special Needs: How To Help Your Baby Become Self-Determined
Accept the fact that your child is “special.” Treat yourself as a superhero when it comes to caring for your “special” child, because you often face severe challenges that a regular parent cannot think of.
From injecting and infusing medications to stretching tight muscles and dealing with tantrums, which are unlike the meltdowns of a normal child, you are performing your role as a therapist, a guide, a nurse, and a mentor nonchalantly.
Perhaps when it is the time to push your child into the world, which is a stranger to them, do not try to be overprotective and strike a balance between supporting risk taking and being protective.
- Give your baby the opportunity to make decisions and choices.
- Encourage them to express their desires.
- Pay heed to their emotions, cries, and tantrums, but do not be swayed by negative vibes.
- Let your child make choices about what to eat, wear, and play with.
- Let them share their experiences with you.
- Guide them so they are able to solve their own
- Let them decide on the plan A and B in case of an emergency.
- Never ever compare your special child with a normal
How To Raise a Child With Disability
You are a super busy parent, especially with a child with special needs. But does that mean you and your baby do not deserve any play time? Well, it is important to play and make merry, read to them, get cozy with them, and interact with them to build a strong parent-child bond.
There is more to parenting a child with a disability than shock, anger, and guilt. Celebrate the little things in your life. Count your blessings. Never feel guilty for what has transpired in your baby’s life. Never allow “typical” parents get you down. Raise awareness about your child’s disability and make sure the message is delivered loud and clear that your baby is no different.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com
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