In this article I decided to write about what I consider to be the top three challenges faced by parents of children with special needs.
The reason I chose this topic is simply because I was stopped one day by someone who had no experience of special needs and asked about the impact of having a child with special needs on my role as a parent.
I didn’t really think about it, I just starting letting the words flow and within a few short seconds this is what I came up with.
1.Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated
2.Physically and emotionally exhausted
3.Stuck in a rut
Looking back over my list some time later, I would not change a thing. These are, I still believe the top three challenges faced by parents of children with special needs.
In this article, I would like to explain why I chose these challenges for my “top three list”.
Firstly, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated is something that can naturally come with the territory. Depending on your childs special need, it can seem like there is so much to do, things can seem to happen very slowly and progress even slower at times!
Sometimes when you think your child has mastered something, a spanner will be thrown in the works and there may be some regression or a setback.
It is easy to become frustrated when you can so clearly see the needs of your child but you are on a waiting list for services, feel like your child is not getting enough time or that what is being tried on your child is just not working or is only giving minor benefits.
Other times you may feel invisible as a parent and feel your concerns are falling on deaf ears or that you are being brushed aside.
Physical and emotional exhaustion seem to go hand in hand with parents with special needs children. This is because you are coping with a special needs child on a physical and emotional level every day and this can be exhausting on all levels.
Good days can leave you elevated and energized while bad days can wipe out what reserves you have and make it difficult to keep going. There will be times you may feel like running away or hiding or taking to the bed but then you are jolted back to reality and know this is wishful thinking!
Finally I added in being stuck in a rut as the final item in my top three challenges for parents with children with special needs. You may look back and hardly recognize the type of life you had before special needs entered your life.
Yes life is different now and it may be difficult to see a way out where you can at least go back to doing some of the things you enjoyed doing before. When you think of everything that needs to be done for your special needs child you may think that your life will never change and you will always be stuck in a rut.
However there is a way to overcome that sense of being overwhelmed and frustrated, to find a level within yourself that is neither physically nor emotionally exhausted and to step away from any feelings of hopelessness and despair about where you are and where you want to be.
"What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
My name is Orla. I am a mentor to parents who have children with special needs. I teach them tools and processes that help them with the physical, emotional and psychological challenges they face. Together we learn how it is possible to achieve a harmonious balance in their lives. For more resources go to http://www.parenting4specialneeds.com
Having a child with special needs is truly life changing. We all cope with these changes differently. As a parent with a child who has special needs I am here to support you in learning what works best for you, your child and your family.