My advice for other parents who have children with special needs is to learn patience. As we all know children with special needs can often time require more work or attention than the average child. In my experience as a mother of a 11 month old little boy who has a mild case of down syndrome, patience has been my saving grace. The best thing you can do is just take time out to laugh everyday, and love and enjoy your child! My son has shown everyone around him what it truly means to love someone. Special needs children are God's angels and gifts for all those on Earth : )
While there are many tips that can be shared to help parents of special needs children , I want to share the two I think are most important.
First I would encourage them to build a support network as quickly as possible and use it as often as necessary! Every helping hand you have available will benefit both parent and child and the child can learn to relate to others. As the saying goes, many hands make light work!
Second, I would tell them that the key to managing the variety of challenges and situations they face is to first become good managers of themselves. If they can handle each situation calmly and consistently the child will respond accordingly as well as everyone else involved. It frankly took me a few years to learn this, and even now after 12 years of raising an autistic child I still have to remind myself of this!
I would like to add to what ng0 208 said. Remember to be patient with yourself as parents. Parents are people too and we will sometime get it wrong. That's okay! As she said learn to laugh often, especially at those "reminders of our humanity", forgive yourself quickly and keep smiling!
The best advice I can give is that you build a strong support structure. This can include a spouse or significant other, your family, friends, doctors and specialists. All of these will play a vital part in helping you to maintain your health and sanity, as well as allowing you to best provide for your child. Next I would say get a hobby for yourself. You need something that is yourself. Something that is all for you and gives you an escape from the day to day tribulations you may face.
Next I agree with ng0208 in that patience is a must, there will be frustration, anger, and hurt. No matter what never take it out on the child, never let them see it, and never let them feel it. They must feel only unconditional love and assurance at all times. Just like msburgman I too have an autistic child and if there is one thing I have learned it's that sometimes you will want to scream and run away.
Make sure you do sometimes. Take time off. Get that support and make sure they can help you to take care of yourself. You are no good to anyone if you are down, depressed, or sick. Take care of yourself or you won't be able to take care of your child. God bless you and I will pray that he gives you help, comfort, and peace through all of this.
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