I’ve always heard it said that parenting can be a uniquely rewarding experience. It can also, at times, be very stressful. Sometimes, the best advice can come from other parents, who are going through similar situations. An article by Laura Shumaker offers advice, understanding, and hope for parents who are raising children that have special needs.
I came across an interesting article that was written by Laura Shumaker. She is a writer and an autism advocate. She also is a mom, of a son named Matthew, who had been described as “pervasively developmentally delayed”. The article was titled “How to Be a Special Needs Parent”. In it, she shares some advice based upon her own experiences.
I’m not going to re-write all of her advice here, because I’m fairly certain that would be plagiarizing. That being said, I will note that the advice she put into the article includes things like being encouraging to other parents of special needs children, in a variety of ways. To me, this sounds very positive.
As some of you might know, I am not a mom. I have no children, special needs or otherwise. However, I do have a background in taking care of other people’s kids as a teacher, and as a day care worker. I’ve had the opportunity to help children, from infants to high school age, reach their educational and social goals.
I’ve lost count of how many toddlers I’ve helped to potty-train, and how many elementary school kids I’ve helped to learn to read. This includes both children who have special needs, those who do not, and those who have needs that are not being met because the paperwork hadn’t been finalized at school yet. Over time, I’ve learned a lot.
While I cannot share advice from personal parenting experiences, I do have enough background to give advice about what not to do. Don’t blame your child for his or her special need. Sadly, I have seen parents do this. Often, this type of resentment comes from parents or caregivers who haven’t been able to find enough assistance so that they can take a break once in a while.
It is vitally important for parents to seek out a support structure – even if it consists of little more than having a relative watch your child for an hour so you can get a cup of coffee with another mom. The best advice I can give is to remember that if you aren’t taking good care of yourself that you cannot give your child the best of you.
Image by Sheri Terris on Flickr