Learning that your child has a disability can be an emotional situation. You may feel stunned and overwhelmed at first hearing of the news, but there is plenty of positive to anticipate for the future.
Raising a child with a disability requires that you may have to spend extra time working with your child, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. There is a large population of disabled children in the world, and many of them live very fulfilling lives.
Take a few moments now to begin educating yourself in what’s to come. Knowledge is power, and your knowledge will help you to walk through the toughest situations presented in future endeavors.
Understand the stages of your emotional journey
- Stage One – Feelings of sadness. Overwhelming stress and rejection of the truth are common.
- Stage Two – Extension of the first stage. Some parents may begin to try and find a cure.
- Stage Three – Stage three may represent anger. Anger can be expressed in many different ways: Reclusive demeanor, behavioral outbursts, and even guilt are possible.
- Stage Four – Parents begin to accept their child’s disability. Sometimes parents slip into depression and hopelessness. Some parents will attempt to hide the child. This is truly a sign of their progress towards a healthy state of acceptance. On the flipside, getting stuck in this stage can be detrimental to your child’s health and happiness.
- Stage Five – This is a stage of total acceptance and positive regard. Parents begin planning for the future once again, and augmenting their vision of reality.
- Stage Six – Parents are able to function with normalcy alongside their child, and can discuss/participate in providing instruction, assistance, or therapy.
Utilize services offered for your child
Once you’ve worked your way through truly accepting your child’s disability, it’s time to get to work living the rest of your lives together. Research the services available to enrich your child’s life, and utilize the tools that are within your reach.
It takes a village to raise a normal child. Raising a child with special needs takes a whole community of support. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
Befriend other parents of disabled children
Get out into the community, and find support groups for parents of children with similar disabilities. It helps to have support from people who know how your life feels. Isolating yourself will make your life harder to handle, so reach out to others who understand.
Make time to enjoy your child’s presence
It’s important to make time to truly enjoy the presence of your child. It’s easy to get caught up in providing comfort and care for your child, but you need to remember to stop sometimes. Stop and truly enjoy time with your kid.