Did you know that an estimated 12.8% of children in the U.S have special needs? That means millions of other parents are facing a similar challenge as you.
If you are a parent or caregiver, keep reading for 4 tips for raising a child with special needs.
1. Learn as Much as You Can About Your Child’s Condition
The more you know about your child’s condition, the better, as you will need to understand ongoing or potential struggles to be a good advocate for them. The needs of your child will likely change as they age. Learning about the developmental disorder they have will help you anticipate what type of support they will need.
If you’re raising a child with autism, you should be aware of medical issues they may develop, such as gastrointestinal issues, difficulty sleeping, and eating, and poor coordination.
2. Find and Use Support Programs
If your child is diagnosed at a young age, make use of early childhood intervention programs. Children are more receptive to learning new information or skills at young ages, as their brains are still forming. This is when physical or occupational therapy, building language and motor skills, and sensory integration therapies are most helpful.
ABA therapy (or Applied Behavioral Analysis) is a type of supportive treatment that uses play to help children develop essential life skills like improving social, language, and communication skills. Additional areas of focus are increasing positive habits and behaviors and decreasing negative ones.
ABA therapy for children with special needs is a goal-oriented and fun program. You can check out Dream Big Children’s Center for more information about ABA and early intervention therapy programs and how it may help your child.
3. Be Responsible
You are totally and completely responsible for your child’s care. When attending doctor’s appointments, do your best to bring updated records. If you are going to be late or will miss the appointment, try to contact the doctor’s office ASAP.
Connect with your child’s teachers and ask what you can do at home to support their education. Set goals at home to help them in the classroom (or online learning environment). Communicating with educators will also give them a better idea of what accommodations are needed.
4. Talk to Other Parents
When you are trying to maintain a schedule, juggle appointments, and take care of your child, it can be easy to feel like you’re alone. Millions of other parents and caregivers understand the demands of raising a child with special needs. Connect with others for support.
Other parents or caregivers often have valuable advice to make your days a little easier and can self-care tips. Support from others is essential for your own mental health.
Our 4 Tips for Raising a Child With Special Needs
This guide includes tips to help your child thrive, such as using support programs like ABA or early intervention therapy. However, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. Make a point of connecting with other parents raising a child with special needs or join a support group.
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