If you've never had a child with special needs, you may consider yourself blessed, or at least fortunate.
Special needs parents spend more time in hospitals and doctors' offices, to be sure, and they have a lot
of other issues to deal with. But they love their children just as much as they would if they functioned
at a “normal” level. Their life is harder, but in some ways more rewarding.
What Are Special Needs Parents Up Against?
The services that children with special needs require are sometimes expensive and often tied up in
bureaucratic red tape. You can't just go and apply for everything you think your child needs. You'll
have to network with other parents of SNC's, or special needs children, to keep up-to-date on what
needs to be done as far as diagnoses, before you can apply for any of the programs that would benefit
your child. For any classes that aren't covered, you can expect to pay a high price.
Phone calls and paperwork are a big part of life for a special needs parent. You'll have lists of
specialists and phone numbers and government offices covering every aspect of your child's life.
Spending time on the phone is done without an afterthought, of course, because SNC parents love their
kids just like every other parent does.
The Emotional Aspects of Rearing Children with Special Needs
Some kids with special needs must be lifted or carried, and their parents develop strength and muscles.
But every single placement in an appropriate program, along with select alternative treatments and
making important medical decisions, weighs heavily on parents of special needs children.
These parents are not born with extra patience or energy. They can't develop these assets just because
they need them. They just have to use more energy and more patience, and hope that it's enough. Their
priorities change, based on all of their children, not just those with special needs. Special diets are
sometimes needed, and adaptive equipment today can be confusing. Parents of SNC's can't focus 100%
of their attention on anything, because they always need to be ready for what their child might need.
Parenting a Special Needs Child is Intense
Parents of SNC's don't have 100% of their time to give these children. In all likelihood they have other
children as well, and they deserve their parents' attention, too. There does have to be some “me” time
taken to avoid total burnout, but you'll come back refreshed and better able to cope with the situation if
you take some time for yourself.
It's difficult to find anyone to care for a special needs child if you want to take a day to spend with
friends or attend a social function. Special needs children need specialized care unique to their
Children with special needs often have more behaviors than other kids, but it's not the result of poor
parenting. These children simply do not respond to parenting techniques the way many typical children
would. The parents still have the same tasks as all parents, like going grocery-shopping and getting the
car repaired when it needs it. It's just harder for them to do, when they are taking their SNC with them.
The Unexpected Benefits
Parents actually do receive gifts by being willing to raise children with special needs. They learn how
important it is to be patient. They learn to slow down and appreciate some of the simpler parts of life.
They make the very most of all the time they spend with their SNC's and their other children.
Parents of children with special needs develop strength from the many challenges they face. They learn
to disregard what others say, especially if it might hurt their child. Nothing is ever too good for any of
their children, and they get a deep-seated feeling that they are doing the right thing when they do the
best they can for their special needs children.
Valerie Johnston is a health writer located in Lake Fork, Texas. She is passionate about
running and clean eating and writing for Healthline.com ensures she stays up-to-date on the
latest trends and news in the health and fitness industry.
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