If you are a special needs parent, you know what I am talking about. While you love your child dearly, accommodating to their one-of-a-kind manners in functioning, learning and playing can be a challenge. While trying to figure out your child’s diagnosis and special needs in parental care, you might be frustrated with the lack of social support mechanisms and groups.
Not just that, friends and family members sometimes let you down. They might be scared to babysit your child when you want a night out; at a gathering they might be fearful because they do not know how best to interact with your child; they might even stop inviting you to occasions because the event does not provide accessibility services. We know how you feel and we are determined to make a change. Here is a list of the top 5 ways to encourage a special needs parent in your extraordinary journey. Be encouraged!
1. Understand the condition first.
Before you make assumptions, stop and listen to the parent explain what his/her child’s diagnosis is. You could also do your own research and educate yourself about the conditions of dyslexia, ADHD, autism, Down’s Syndrome and so on. The parent will appreciate you taking the time to understand what his/her child is challenged with.
2. Be positive!
It is no exaggeration to say that a happy soul injects sunshine into the life of parents with special needs children. With a warm smile on your face, a batch of freshly baked cookies in your hands, you just might make their day. Be affirmative; give words of support and a warm bear hug when needed.
3. Be accepting.
Even though a lot of children with recognizable challenges are shunned by society and face discrimination, you do not have to see them as less capable than other children. Play with special needs children just like how you would with other children! Run around, frolic, have fun! Other than giving the children opportunities to develop healthy social interactions with others, you would also be showing the parents that there are people out there who see their children as more than their diagnoses.
4. Walk together!
An African proverb says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; but if you want to walk far, walk together.” It is so worth it to educate your family, friends, co-workers whenever you can of the importance of accepting those with intellectual or physical challenges. Challenge them to stop using derogatory language. Inform them that it is wrong to single out people who are more awkward or clumsy. Teach them that they should embrace values of love and equality. Generate a tidal wave of attitude and cultural change!
5. Be the rep!
There can never be enough advocates for special needs children and their parents! Show your love for people with special needs by being their voice. Join support groups and call out schools, media and state legislators to ask for changes that you want to see in your neighbourhood. This cause is worth the fight! Show the world that children with special needs are not burdens, but rather, they bring unique gifts to the world!
Show special needs parents that they are not alone in this fight. Let them know they are included in the community and that you are walking with them in this extraordinary journey. Be a life-changer today!
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