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How to Parent Kids with Special Needs

10 Sep 2016

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you undoubtedly have bigger challenges to overcome than you ever thought possible.

There may be days where you feel all alone in your struggle. Maybe you've been so busy taking care of your child's needs, in addition to the rest of your family, that you have not had the opportunity to seek encouragement from those who have trekked a similar road.



“Kids with Special Needs" is an umbrella underneath which diagnoses can be wedged.

Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound cognitive impairment; food allergies or terminal illness;developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. 

The designation is useful for getting needed services, setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for a child and stressed family.

These kids are commonly defined by what a child can't do -- by milestones unmet, foods banned, activities avoided, experiences denied. These minuses hit families hard, and may make "kids with special needs" seem like a tragic designation. Some parents will always mourn their child's lost potential, and many conditions become more troubling with time.

But this is not really true as all children have some special talents and especially some kids with special needs are indeed special .There are kids with special needs like aspersers or autism or ADHD who may have some very exceptional talents or abilities and things that only then can do.Other families may find that their child's challenges make triumphs sweeter, and that weaknesses are often accompanied by amazing strengths.

Different Concerns:

Families of children with special needs, and they may seem to have little in common. A family dealing with developmental delays will have different concerns than one dealing with chronic illness, which will have different concerns than one dealing with mental illness or learning problems or behavioral challenges. Parenting Special Needs may come under the following brackets medical, behavioral, developmental, learning, and mental health.

Medical Issues: - These Children may be seen with serious conditions like cancer and heart defects, muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis; chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes; congenital conditions like cerebral palsy and dwarfism; and health threats like food allergies and obesity. Children with medical issues may require numerous tests, long hospital stays, expensive equipment, and accommodations for disabilities.

Their families have to deal with frequent crises, uncertainty, and worry. Hence guidance  from a counselor or therapist to help them deal with the crisis and constant fatigue of care giving is essential

Learning Issues:Children with learning disabilities like reading or writing or mathematics difficulty despite having an average or above average intelligence and Central Auditory Processing Disorder struggle with schoolwork regardless of their intellectual abilities. They require specialized learning and coping strategies to meet their potential and avoid self-esteem problems and behavioral difficulties.

Hence the Parents of learning-challenged kids need to be persistent both in working with their reluctant learners and with the schools that must provide the help these children need. They need to be aware to seek guidance how to guide their kids at home

Mental Health Issues: Living with a child with mental health issues can put family members on their toes for their mood swings, crises and defiance. A child's problems with anxiety or depression can sneak up on parents and self guilt may peak in.Hence problems with attachment may smack them right in the face.

Parents have to find the right professionals to help, and make hard decisions about therapy, medications, and hospitalization.

Behavior Issues:Children with behavior issues don't respond to traditional discipline .For e.g.  withdiagnoses like ADHD , if  strategies are not developed and used, kids with behavior issues throw their families into chaos and are seriously at risk for school problems.

Their parents need to be flexible and creative and definitely need guidance form a therapist  to help shape their kids behavioral problems and increase their repertoire of appropriate behaviours. Just Click the chat button on bottom left and start talking to a guidance psychologist on how you can be helped by a behavioral therapist 

Developmental Issues: These are some of the most devastating for a family to deal with, changing visions of the future and providing immediate difficulties in caring for and educating a child. Diagnoses like autism, Down syndrome and intellectual disabilities often cause children to be removed from the mainstream.

Parents must be fierce advocates to make sure their children receive the services, therapy, schooling, and inclusion they need and deserve.

Parents of children with special needs are often more flexible, compassionate, stubborn and resilient than other parents. There are some common concerns that link parents of challenged kids, including getting appropriate care although every special-needs child is different and every family is unique, and accommodations; promoting acceptance in the extended family, school and community; planning for an uncertain future; and adjusting routines and expectations.

1. Interaction:-

Depending on the child’s special needs, it may be necessary to take the child’s hand, place a hand on the child’s shoulder or even touch each other’s faces to make a proper introduction.

Then explain the activity that you will be doing with the child.  Explain the different steps of the activity, including the beginning and the end – while making as much eye contact as possible.

2. Observe:-

Some children with special needs perceive sensory input in different ways and may be unable to verbalize discomfort.  

Remember that all behavior is communication.

Always keep a lookout for these differences and think about what the child’s behavior is communicating to you.

 If you’re not sure what you’re seeing, ask the child’s parents or other adults for advice.

3. Flexible approach

·If a child does not have the appropriate motor skills for an activity, help the child go through the motions and assign a buddy to help the child practice on the sidelines for a few minutes.

In a education class, a child may have difficulty understanding some concepts

But when those same concepts are presented in a game or hands-on art the child is able to comprehend the same well.


5. Use visual, auditory or tactile cues

Having the right cues in an environment can mean the difference between participation and non-participation for many children with special needs.  

Tactile cues such as gently touching a person’s shoulder, offering a blanket or other soft fabric,

Providing silly easy ways to mark a transition and get a person’s attention.  

6. Have a plan and a back-up plan.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans.  Make sure that there is space to calm down and move freely if things go badly.  

Think about what each can do instead of focusing on what they can’t contribute.


7. Be Positive

A positive attitude is the single most important quality for anyone who works with children with special needs be it parents or teachers or therapists.  

Positive thinking Is always a stepping stone to success.

Read More About the Child’s Condition

Understanding more about your child and his disease will help you to a great extent.

Go to a library and read more about his or her condition. Look for websites on the internet that provide parent information.

Take down notes and check with your doctor to see if you have understood it correctly. Remember, not all children with the same diagnosis end up the same way.


 Connect to With other Parents who have Kids with Special Needs

You are not the only one you may always find other parents like you. They too are going through similar difficulties; maybe they have some ideas for help.

Maybe you have some ideas that will help them. In today’s world connecting with other parents is a lot easier. Look around and you will find lots more people like you who need a friend.

Find the Right School

This is an important decision to be made regarding a child with a disability.

If you are going to integrate your child into regular school, look for the options you have around you.

Consider accessibility, style of teaching, and if there are other special needs children in the classroom.

Build a Relationship With the Doctor/child psychologist/counselor

A good doctor will make this journey a lot easier. Find a doctor/counselor who you are comfortable talking to as having a child with special needs may mean a lot of regular checkups, medication and investigations.

Clarify instead of assuming. If you feel that a particular medication or treatment is not working out for your child, talk about it openly with your doctor.

 Help Your Child be Independent

Do not make your child dependent.

Often parents sympathize with a child with special needs and they try to do everything for the child.

This is not beneficial for the child in the long run.

Your child needs to learn to do things on his own, even though sometimes it’s hard work for the parents.

For example brushing his teeth or changing into pajamas can be a very difficult and exhausting task, but it’s worth encouraging your child to do it on his own. Hence if the task is too difficult, give him one part to do, or help him in any other way, but make sure that he is involved.


Give Your Child Love and Respect:

This is very important as Love and respect are the two greatest gifts you can give to your child. Love him or her the way you love your other children. Make it a point to play with your child, and express that love in different ways. Also, respect your child. Although he is different, he is an individual. 

We at ePsyClnic can can help in building and shaping your child's future so that she/he can achieve their god given potential. 

 Just Click the chat button on bottom left and start talking to a guidance psychologist privately on how you can be helped by a specialist ePsyClinic Child therapist 

Tags: #learning disability #disability is in mind #excellence #onlinecounseling