Parents of Special Needs Children Need Support Too
Devoted parents of children with special needs can easily find themselves lost in countless articles about the challenges of raising them. How often do they search for one that covers the challenge of being such a parent and receiving support? In order to relieve the exhaustion and endless worry, it is essential these parents are made aware of their options.
- 1Accept help from friends and family – Anyone who truly cares about you must also care about your children. It’s a package deal. Yet, you will inevitable become wrapped up in a hectic schedule, focused solely on your children’s needs and forget about the person who is making it all happen: you.
That is where friends and family come in. Let your kids or partner help. Are your parents still active? Meddling can be made useful. If you are one of those people who see asking for help as a sign of weakness, call it multi-tasking. Who knows? You might just create a large enough window in that itinerary to take a nap. Take care of the caregiver. That’s you.
- 2Know what you need – First, be honest about what you need. Once you are on a roll when it comes to accepting help, you will hopefully also become adept at letting people know what you need and allowing then entry into your world.
Once you let them in, you have to train them. Create a list of needs. They may have offered assistance on several occasions. You may have acknowledged. Yet, nothing has happened. They are not mind readers. Make a list of things that would make your life easier. Match each item with the friend or family member most likely to complete the task.
- 3Ask the professionals – There is an option where a friend or family member can receive caregiver training. There are classes made available by hospitals and state social service agencies. However, if your child’s medical problems are chronic or severe, it may be time to enlist in a home caregiver. Ask your insurance company if they will cover the cost of an in-home health aide or visiting nurse for a few hours a week. Call your benefits provider to see if you are eligible. There are also services where a caregiver can come to the house to give you a break for a few hours or overnight. Some communities have drop-off programs.
- 4Seek companionship – Once you manage to discover ‘you’ time, the next best thing is to seek ‘you and someone else’ time. Sometimes, a companion doesn’t have to do anything for you, other than be a friend. You’re a human being. Connection, conversation and laughter make formidable allies on this mission of yours. Ask a friend to come over after the kids go to bed. Talk over dinner, or simply a cup of coffee. Watch a movie. In a pinch, there are always support groups, both online and in-person. Support is the key word.
Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.
We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.
— Anne Gunteski,
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ