After almost 25 years of providing care for a Special Needs Child/Adult, the parents have been changed.
Each time the phone rings, a text tone is heard, or an email is received from an unknown source, a tense sensation is felt. Even after contact has proven to be unrelated to any issue, the sensation remains.
A recent study concluded that being a #caregiver for a Special Needs family member can result in related health issues. The silent killer, stress, is a constant companion of the parent of a #SNK or adult.
Common stress related events include:
- improper behavior
- illegal substance abuse
- criminal actions
- verbal or written threats
- medical or mental treatment failure
- episodes of depression
- physical health problems
- job loss
Any of these events are a stressful situation for "#normal" family situation. They can be amplified within the home of #SNK's and their #Caregivers.
When the #parent or #caregiver can accept the reality of the situation, they typically can adjust the expectations they have as their child interacts with the world.
A template one can follow may look like this:
- Meet with educators or daycare personnel prior to the #SNK being included in general population of the school of facility.
- Make sure the child continues on a successful routine at home prior to starting any new program, school year, etc.
- Reinforce your support for the child, with lot's of smiles and kisses (hugs too if the child is accepting)
- Don't overload the child with behavioral suggestions for every potential scenario. Accept that issues will arise, and position the child to have confidence and remembrance to "do what is right"
- Follow up with teachers or daycare attendants to get regular input. You will be able to tune into behavioral implications before they feel an issue exists
Finally, almost every person you will interact with starts out with the confidence that "they will be the one" who can establish a positive relationship with the child, and get the best out of them. It will regularly end up that these persons become the most critical of the child. One therapist actually told the parents that the child would be a criminal, after the child did not "embrace" the therapists methods. YOU are the child's first, best advocate.
And don't be afraid to confront inappropriate or illegal violations of your child's rights under state and federal law. Most times, you will want to be the authority on what accommodations are required, and most importantly, what action is appropriate if initial accommodations do not work.
Few people get the privilege to provide care for a #SpecialNeeds child or adult. Stay positive, be yourself. Don't allow care-giving to define who you are. Love yourself and love your responsibility. The Parents of a #SNK are truly the Salt of the Earth.