Ask anyone caring for a child with special needs and they'll
tell you that it's not easy. Most agree that they all struggled with some form
of emotion before rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. This brings
us to an important and sometimes overlooked process in dealing with the challenge
you've been given: Parents and family members, you must allow yourself
time to deal with your emotions. Grieve, be angry, give yourself the opportunity
to vent whatever's going on inside.
For some it takes weeks, others may need months, but whatever
the case, be honest with yourself. Only you know when you've come to terms with
your child's condition. If severe depression, stress, or anxiety persist, seek
counseling or psychiatric treatment. Dealing with the reality and accepting
your challenge has everything to do with your children reaching their
potential. It's for this reason that autism support groups serve as a potent
ally. There you'll finds folks just like yourselves, sharing, caring, and, more
importantly, living with the same challenges. Talk with parents who have been
living with autism, with those capable of sharing their first-hand experience
with coping and treatments. Don't be surprised when you find that the parents
in these groups are the "real experts".
Here's a short list of support organizations and message boards:
Your local Church
Parents of Autistic
Here are a few ways to locate autism support groups (in your
Go online and search for "autism support groups CA"
substituting "CA" for your state name.
Contact your local school district, county, or state board
Some argue that a parent never really recovers
from the initial shock of diagnosis, let alone truly copes with the lifestyle
that comes with living with a disabled child. Some may find themselves feeling
desperate, hopeless, or alone, even in the midst of ample support. Are you feeling
this way? Do you wonder whether you'll ever find the peace and hope you
hear people speak of when living with a challenge such as this? Or maybe
you're angry, you've accepted the fact that your child has a disability, but
you resent it.
There's another resource to
call on, a spiritual resource of hope; of peace; of limitless, unconditional
love. This resource is God, of course, the creator of heaven and earth, the
greatest source of love, peace, wisdom, courage, and hope this world can ever
know. If we turn to God to ask for help in dealing with the emotional and other
challenges we face in being the parent of a special-needs child any challenge
in life, for that matter we receive it without fail. All we need to do is ask.
See the section Conclusion for more