Help Parents Cope


One practical suggestion for helping parents of special needs children  to cope is allow them to remain in control, while feeling safe to express their most vulnerable emotions.

 It's All A Process

One father explains that his special child has taught him to appreciate results that aren't instant. His daughter's small incremental changes lead to euphoric celebration of her reaching developmental milestones. She reminds her dad that things take time and perseverance, that we don't always see the results of our efforts until way down the line, yet the efforts are there, bringing change, even if it not immediately apparent.

Open Gates

As a result of parenting a child with special needs, one mother recognizes that many gates have opened for her - and not only hospital gates! Gates of tears opened. She feels emotions more deeply now and cries more easily - which is therapeutic. Gates opened that brought this mother closer to the sense of a Higher Being, and closer to her relatives and friends. This mother feels grateful for the gates of compassion that stand wide open, as people open their hearts to understanding, kindness and empathy for her as a parent of a child with special needs.


Offer Specific Help

Think about what you can do practically. If you are able to cook a meal, entertain my other children, locate a helpful item or find helpful information, offer it with no obligation for your relative or friend to accept. Saying that parents can call if they need anything, while well intended on your part, doesn't give them a practical way of getting assistance with something. They don't want to beg for help. When you give them a specific option, they can remain in control of part of their lives.

Don't talk excitedly about miracle cures if parents appear uninterested. Hearing unusual stories does not help them find practical steps to take with their particular child.

Downplaying their child's problems cannot serve to move him ahead. Saying that probably nothing is wrong is risky - although it may be uncomfortable, parents prefer to have suspicious development assessed by medical professionals. Dwelling on famous personalities who were dimwitted misfits in childhood can be misleading, and serves no practical purpose.

Be aware and welcome others' experiences into your heart, and you are sure to be a special source of comfort to your relative or friend who is the parent of a child with special needs.