Navigating the world of special needs parenting

If you are the parent of a special need’s child, you are probably experiencing one of the most rewarding and frustrating experiences a parent can have. At the best of times parenting can be an exhausting and thankless task and parenting a child with special needs is no different – it’s just the scale of feelings and emotions is much wider and more pronounced. The question of knowing what to do is not easy one but know that you are not the first person navigating this road and take solace from that. There are others like you out there. Here are a few tips to help you through the tough times.

Find the right toys

Children with Autism experience the world differently from other children and so it is important to recognize that they will not always want to play with the same toys as other kids. A quick online search for something like, ‘autism sensory toys Australia’ will show you the types of toys that are likely to work. Invest in these. They tend to be things that sooth and which have particular tactile sensations that are pleasant to the child. Buying some of these will allow your child to self-sooth and learn while playing and exploring the world.

Reach out

As a parent to a special needs child it is important to recognize that there are others who have gone through similar experiences to you. As much as no two children are identical it is so helpful being able to listen to the experiences of other parents. How they coped, what solutions they put in place and how they felt. Listen and learn. You absolutely don’t have to copy what they did – you need to be brave enough to implement the solutions that you think will work best for you and your child but listen and consider and revel in the fact that others have come through and that you will too.

Read

Make use of the literature that is out there. There is a lot of it and it will cover a wide spectrum and many schools of thought. Again, it is about empowering yourself with information. You don’t need to implement everything that you read but the more information you have the less you are shooting in the dark.

Pet therapy

Bring animals into the mix. Special needs children are often more inclined to bond with animals than they are with children. Animals like horses are very popular, but so too are dogs and kittens. Pigs are even an option. In short, it is about cuddling and nurturing and connecting with another creature on an emotional level.

Love, love, love

The Beatles suggested it rather simply many years ago when they said, “All you need is love,” and in many ways they were right. A child will always know if it is loved and by pouring love into your child you cannot go wrong. It is often hard to express love to a special needs child as they don’t always like to be hugged but find ways to let them know what they mean to you. It is important to them, but it is also important for your wellbeing, you have to be able to express your feelings as well.

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