Parent's feelings about their special needs child


Here are some feelings that parents of kids with down syndrome, autism or Asperger's syndromeADHD and other medical conditions have expressed:


Shock and loss are felt when a child with a disability is born and/or diagnosed. Although parents may understand intellectually that somehow it may turn out to be a good thing, it is natural to mourn. This kind of grieving is not necessarily limited to the time of the child's initial diagnosis. Rather, parents can experiences phases of disappointed feelings throughout the years. This is because a child having a disability isn't something that just happens once. It's something that goes on happening. 


Initially, a parent may disbelieve, deny or downplay the facts about their child's limitations. They may tell themselves that nothing is wrong with their child. This is normal.


Anger may be taken out on medical personnel, and can cause stress among family members.


Grief can be felt over the loss of what the parent imagines the child might have been like.


Parents may wonder what the future holds for this child. Will their son's condition worsen? Will others accept and love their daughter?


They can worry that they caused their child's disability. Were they responsible in their choices? Did family members and doctors make a mistake in caring for their child? Are they being punished for wrongdoing? These nagging questions can fill parents minds with guilt.


Life may seem like a fog. Normal patterns become disorganized. Suddenly there is so much to do - medicals tests and therapies and appointments with psychologists and social workers. Normal existence has become alien and exhausting.


Parents cannot go back to their simpler past. They can't change things. They may hope for a miracle or quick fix. They may feel embarrassed by the need to rely on others for help.


They may secretly wish for the child to disappear or die. This is a sign of depression. They might also reject the advice of doctors or other well meaning people.

Consumed Interest

A mother or father can become intensely focused on a child with special needs, to the point that other matters lack real meaning.

Fierce Love

A parent may be amazed at how deeply he or she comes to love a child with disabilities.

Any or all of these complex emotions might be part of the experience of a parent with a special needs child.