What’s it Like to Parent a Child who has Special Needs?

question marksAll children are unique. This means that your parenting experience will have some aspects that are different from what other parents may be doing. Sometimes, people will ask a mom or dad who has a child with special needs what it is like to parent their child. There isn’t a “one size fits all” answer to this question. Here’s a quick roundup of the answers given by some parents.

NR Today has a post titled “Jemelene Wilson: Raising a child with special needs”. She is the mother of two children. One of her daughters is grown, and married. Her youngest daughter. Allison, is thirteen years old and has Emanuel Syndrome.

It is a chromosomal disorder that disrupts typical development. Symptoms include weak muscle tone, “failure to thrive”, developmental delays, and severe to profound intellectual disability. Other symptoms can include cleft palate, small or absent kidneys, smaller head size, and distinctive facial features.

In the NR Today article, Jemelene talks about the support workers that come to their home, daily, to help Allison with her daily needs. Sometimes, the caretaker is her older sister. This article shows a hopeful side of parenting a child who has special needs. Want to know more? Jemelene has a personal blog called “Finding Hope”.

The Orange County Register has an interview with mom Kathy Davis. She shares her experiences as the mother and caretaker of her daughter, Erica, who was born with Down Syndrome. Erica is now 34 years old. She got married to her husband, Ben, in 2010. Ben is also 34, and has autism.

Kathy answers questions about how she dealt with stress while raising her daughter. She advises parents to follow their hearts when it comes to making decisions about what is best for their children, and the importance of allowing children to have exposure to real life experiences. There is discussion about how she is planning for Erica’s (and Ben’s) future. Both require help with daily tasks.

Huffington Post has a article written by Laine Kupferberg Carter. It is titled: “10 Things I Wish Someone Told me About Parenting a Child With Special Needs”. One of the things she mentions is the importance for parents to take care of themselves. She notes a study that found that moms of children who have autism have stress levels that are similar to those of combat soldiers.

Pop Sugar has a post titled “What Moms of Kids With Special Needs Wish You Knew”. It is written by Amanda Morin. This article has a list of 7 things that she wishes that other mother’s knew. One especially poignant one is “We don’t always feel ‘blessed’” by having a child who has special needs.

Image by Scott McLeod on Flickr