Raising a child is a blessing, but it’s also one of the most challenging things a person can do in life. It’s exhausting, all-consuming, and incredibly rewarding all at the same time. When that child has special needs, however, parents face an entirely new set of challenges. This is what special needs parents face.
Education and Development
Some parents dream about their child making the honor roll, earning a master’s degree, or becoming star athletes. While education is an essential part of development, intellectual and physical disabilities often prevent individuals from achieving those dreams.
Instead, special needs parents focus on their child’s development. They want to help them walk and talk independently, to have friends, and to simply attend a public school. Medical and day-to-day needs become a top priority instead of an A+ in English or Algebra.
A lot of these parents also wonder how much time they’ll have with their child. When a diagnosis includes a shorter life span, things like grades and sports performance become insignificant. What matters is the child’s quality of life.
Inclusion, or the Lack Of
Special needs children, unfortunately, face discrimination their entire lives. They are prone to bullying in school, face businesses who don’t comply with ADA requirements, and often have a difficult time finding work as adults. There are also plenty of landlords who discriminate against what would be exceptional tenants.
For parents, it’s difficult to watch their children experience ignorance and hate from others. Mothers and fathers have to learn to develop thick skin, as well as stand up for their child whenever possible. Even more challenging is that the struggle doesn’t end once their child becomes an adult.
Every parent feels exhausted after the end of a long day caring for their child, but special needs parents have it tough. Varying disabilities and diagnoses force them to remain expertly vigilant, assist their child with things that come naturally to other kids, and keep up with an endless ocean of doctor appointments, which may involve numerous specialists, including a concierge doctor.
Don’t forget about the pharmacy, picking up foods to meet special diets, and the fact that children with disabilities often have irregular sleep patterns. It’s truly a never-ending experience, but one that shows just how much love and devotion parents have for their children.
Maintaining a Family
With all of that time and attention placed on their special needs child, it can be easy to neglect other children as well as their partner. Parents have to juggle the extra help their child needs with the care of their other children and still find time to be romantic or simply relax with their lover.
For a lot of families like these, couples often find themselves considering a divorce. The stress can simply become too much for them to bear, or what made their relationship great has fallen away as they care for their child. It’s a tough act to hold together, but special needs children can and do help their parents bond as well.