Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Parenting A Child With Special Needs

What about children with special needs?

Every parent wants and expects to have a "normal" child. Like everything else in life things don’t always turn out the way we had envisioned. Between 5 and 20% of children will have a special need, which may range from a physical disability through a specific medical condition or illness, to developmental delay or mental disorder.

The disability may be visible or invisible. It may be apparent at birth or emerge as the child grows older. Or it may come later as a result of an injury or illness. Its cause may be known (e.g. genetic) or as is the case with many children with developmental problems, its cause may be speculative (e.g. environmental) or unclear.

Finding Out

Finding out that your child has a special need can evoke a range of reactions from parents, from shock and disbelief to grief, guilt, anger, confusion and depression. For some parents the situation is made more difficult by the lack of a clear diagnosis or prognosis. Often the child must be subjected to a series of tests that can go on for sometime and can be quite traumatic for the parents and the child. Most parents need time and support
fom family and friends in order to adjust to their new situation.

The joy and the challenges

Parenting a child with special needs can enrich your life and bring inestimable joy. It can also pose challenges, depending on the kind of disability:

What parents can do

Dealing with professionals

Your child

To Think about:

"As I recall the hours of early intervention our daughter received, the most valuable lessons were based on recognizing her worth as an individual, taking into account our abilities, as her parents, to seek out ways to encourage her growth and development and, finally, reaching out to other families with children, with or without disabilities, to participate in mutually supportive relationships that meet the needs of each individual in the family as well as the community. " Parent’s testimony

"He’s made our lives better in a way. It makes you realize what’s important in life....it’s not how many things you have or where you live...what’s important is caring for people or being sensitive to others." * Parent

"It gave us more strength and we’d go and say, ‘way to go Caroline...Look at what you have made of us. You made us door openers.’ And we’re getting really good at it." * Parent

"I don’t believe things always happen for a reason, but I believe meaning can be found in what ever happens. Having Amelia has brought incredible joy and enrichment into my life as well as other people’s lives. At the same time I have been forced to meet challenges I could never have imagined and to grow in ways I would never have thought possible." * Parent

"The tragedy is not the child with the disability, but how we as a society respond." * Parent