Healthy Kids     Early Education     K-12    

Hudson Valley mom offers support for special needs families

When a parent first learns their child has a life-long disability, the news is overwhelming.

As a parent of a child with special needs I have experienced the shock, anger and the tremendous feeling of guilt. How did this happen? What did I do wrong? The bottom line is there is no answer.

We, as parents, did nothing to cause our child’s disability. It just happened. It is heartbreaking to know our children will not live the lives we hoped and dreamed for them. But in order to help our children we must pick ourselves up, remain positive and focus on the present and the future; always trust your instinct.

I wish I could tell you that the grieving process is temporary. It is not. It comes in waves as you watch your child struggle through what other children take for granted. But luckily these times of grief are surpassed by times of sheer joy and triumph at every milestone your child meets, or watching them try and succeed at something new. These times are matched by no other.

The five basic needs of all kids.

How to get through it:

1.  Never forget you are your child’s voice. You are their champion and their rock. Advocating for your child with special needs is a privilege, not a burden. 
2.  Appreciate the struggle
but do not dwell on it. 
3.  Parents of other special needs children are invaluable. We support each other, cry with each other, laugh with each other and learn from each other. My son’s smile inspires me every day and it’s heartening to share that with parents that know exactly how it feels.  
4.  Join or start a parent group in your child’s school. 
5.  Look for community resources in your area. 
6.  Surround yourself by caring family and friends. 
7.  Do not be afraid to ask them for help. They won’t know how they can help unless you tell them. 
8. Lastly, remember to take some time for yourself.
Many times that is the greatest gift your loved ones can give you and your child.

Kyle Marie Jambor is a Behavior Analyst with Vital Behavior Services, Inc.