Parenting is always challenging, but the challenges reach new heights when you are parenting a child with special needs. In this blog, SpecialKids Company highlight some of the special needs challenges that families are faced with.
Accessibility for Special Needs
Unfortunately, many families are faced with a world that isn’t accessible for their child’s needs. From ramp access, a lack of adequate toilet provision like Changing Places toilets, narrow or uneven footpaths - the list is endless!
Accessibility can leave families isolated and prevent them from going to places that they love. It’s a huge challenge.
Empathy and Understanding from Others
So many families are faced with a lack of understanding from others when it comes to the challenges of raising a child with special needs. It might be not understanding your child’s behaviours or sensory issues. It might be that you can’t attend a birthday party because it is too loud, inaccessible or too structured for your child. Perhaps it’s the stranger staring at you when your child has a ‘meltdown’ in the supermarket. Empathy and understanding is so important and it can make all the difference. Kindness wins.
Finding Places to go on Vacation
Coping with the special needs of your child whilst away from the home can be difficult. Factors like travelling distance, finding accessible accommodation as well as activities that your whole family can enjoy can be really challenging. You might find that once you find a holiday that works for you, you stick with it. Don’t forget to check our our recent vacation recommendations!
Adapted Clothing and Other Disability Aids
It can be difficult for parents to find adapted clothing to suit their child’s needs. This clothing isn’t sold in supermarkets or clothing stores, but it can be bought online. From seamless socks to incontinence swimwear and bandana bibs. That’s why we want as many families as possible to know about the SpecialKids Company website, where we truly believe you can find some of the best clothing solutions for your child out there.
Children with special needs may not respond to traditional discipline. Diagnoses like ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) require specialised strategies that are tailored to their specific needs. Behavior issues can increase the risk of problems at school. As a parent, you will need to be flexible, creative, and patient.
Meeting Other Parents
It can be really difficult to meet other parents of children with special needs and although it isn’t essential, it can really help to meet and talk to others who ‘get it’. You can’t beat advice from parents who have ‘been there’ and truly understand the ups and downs of raising a child with disabilities. Often children are picked up for school with dedicated transport, so parents don’t have the opportunity to chat at the school gates. We really recommend online forums, Facebook groups and searching for local SEND clubs - you never know who you might meet and it can be life changing stuff.
Communication is a huge challenge for parents whose children have communication difficulties. They might have selective mutism, be completely non-verbal or have behavioral or sensory issues that affect the way in which they communicate.
Imagine the challenges of guessing what your child wants for Christmas, not knowing what is wrong when they are unwell or simple day-to-day things like knowing what they want for dinner or how their day at school was.
Social stories, makaton, ‘now and next’ boards, PECs, communication diaries and passports are just some things that might make communication easier. However, it remains a constant challenge for many.
Do you agree with the above? What has been a big challenge for you?
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Swimming is a fantastic inclusive activity to do with children with special needs. It’s a great sensory experience that is good fun and has positive benefits for both physical and mental health. It is also an activity that can be done all year round and doesn’t have to be weather dependent (depending on where you choose to swim!).