Preventing Stress: Helping Families with Special Needs Children

“Every morning I wake up and try my best to get him ready for school but every moment is a struggle. I do my best to promote his independence; I wait patiently for him to get dressed and redirect him when he gets off task, and I try my best to comfort him when he seems anxious.

In general, he moves really slowly and even though I have shown him many times in the past, I have to keep re-teaching him the same routine. Often, I feel overwhelmed because I worry if he will be able to complete normal everyday tasks without my help.

I try to empower him to do his morning routine and little by little I help him, and at times, I feel so sad because I realize that other 11 year old boys do not need the same reminders. Other boys his age do not need help eating breakfast. And then after the struggles of the morning routine, I finally get him to school.

Once at school, I get the reminder from the secretary in attendance, ‘It’s really important that he come on time.’ It’s so overwhelming because no one seems to know what I am going through, I am saddened by the isolation and fear the tantrums of the morning to come.”

“What am I to do?”

This is just a short story of a typical morning of a parent of a child with special needs; more specifically an 11 year old boy with a Pervasive Developmental Delay (PDD). Many parents will never experience nor understand the daily demands, and emotional stress and enamoring joy of being a parent of a special needs child. Many parents report that they feel very sad because their child struggles doing the things other kids have no problem doing.  With the stress accompanies the wonderful gift of watching their success.

When anxiety and sadness are overwhelming, parents of special needs children suffer and so do their children. Examples such as increased irritability, which effects the special needs child, the other children in the house, and spousal interactions. In addition, many special needs parents ignore their own needs and will always put their own needs aside.

This can be dangerous because, when parents ignore their own needs they typically ignore their own health. Parent health is especially important when a family has a special needs child because they may need a significant amount of assistance over the course of their parent’s lifespan.

You are not alone; many people struggle with these difficulties on a daily basis. Troy and the Success Source have specialized training to provide individual counseling and hold groups to assist parents with special needs children. We can help you with finding a balance to increase the quality of yours and your child’s life.

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