Why Parents of a Special Needs Child are Wonderful!
When I was in college I was a nanny for an agency, and I had the pleasure of caring for some special needs children. The children were mentally challenged, physically challenged, some had mild learning disabilities or had chronic illnesses. The children's daily schedules were carefully planned. There were timed medications, naps, certain foods to be eaten, breathing machines, tube feedings, therapy sessions, specific equipment tailored to the child, and specially equipped vehicles to consider just to name a few. Refrigerators in these children's homes were plastered with schedule boards and some parents used a wall with chalk board paint to map out items that needed to be done for their children. These routines were daily and I wondered how in the world do these parents function or manage to rest after they have worked all day? I realized that this is their world and that I got to go home at the end of the day. I certainly did not have anything to complain about. To me these parents are unsung superheros with nerves of steel, unending patience, and tireless energy. Dads and Moms turn into taxi drivers taking their children to therapy sessions and doctors appointments. They sometimes handle heavy equipment and even have their vehicles altered to accommodate the equipment as well as purchase special vehicles that may put a strain on the family budget, but is necessary for their child. Parents have even had to purchase new homes that would accommodate their special needs child with wheelchair ramps, renovated bathrooms with large shower stalls and support bars, wide doorways and hallways, etc. We salute you.
We also salute parents who make the decision to adopt children with special needs. I assisted some parents who were foster parents to special needs children first before they made the decision to adopt them. Most of the families I spent time with had ranch style homes.
I watched as parents meticulously found the right resources and services for their children and also interview caregivers because they needed several to depend on. I spent several weekends with a family of a special needs child and our sleep was in stages because of feedings, changing soiled clothes, or checking in on the child when we heard them on their monitor and wanted to make sure they were alright. Some children had to be turned because they were unable to turn over themselves. Some Moms and Dads had extended family that would step in and assist with a child's care as well as some really great friends who helped as well. I also took note of how parents juggled time with the needs of their special needs child and a child that was not special needs.
I enjoyed my time as a nanny and would do it all over again. In my book, parents of special needs children are wonderful.