Relative or Friend's Special Needs Child - Parent's Inner World

Here we journey into the inner world of a mother or father of the special needs child.

Parents are consumed

Before life with a special needs child, a mother or father never may have realized that a parent could love a child so deeply. It may difficult for them now to focus on other matters. Their minds are full of thoughts of their child, and their hearts overflow with concern for him or her. Other topics that interest you, or that once interested them, may lack real meaning now. Don't try to change this. It's natural. Their son or daughter requires their intense focus. And the mother and father need it to cope while they internalize the shocking change in their lives.

Parents may want to discuss other matters, but let them lead the way. If they show interest in other topics, feel free to discuss them. If they do not, accept their real and normal need to focus on their disabled child.

Parents are overwhelmed

In addition to their regular hectic life, they have all these "special" things to take care of like medical meetings, therapies, and appointments with social workers. Don't be insulted by their lack of time for you. They are coping as well as they can. At times parents of children with special needs need to unwind by doing nothing - not even talking or emailing people they love and are important to them. Making space for themselves helps parents recharge and gather the strength they need to keep on going.


Mothers and fathers of disabled children are often given conflicting advice about what they should or should not be doing to help their child, themselves, their other children or their marriage. Make suggestions with humility. Preface any advice with asking if your relative or friend can possibly use this bit of information. Don't assume that you have "the" answer. You may be excited about an idea that you think will help them or their special needs child, and it actually may not. Allow parents to decide - and don't act insulted.


It is never ending

In their quest to "do right by" their child with special needs, parents can never really rest. There is always more that they can do to help the child. Sympathize, but don't try hard to stop them. As parents, they have to choose their level of involvement with  their child. Because life with a special needs child is an ongoing matter, parents constantly find themselves adjusting to an ever changing dynamic, and balancing their focus on their child with other issues going on in their lives. Their decisions are based upon their intuition, and you can help them by being supportive of the decisions that they make.