At Baddour Center, we commend special needs parents for all they do, and we understand the challenges that come with parenting individuals with special needs. The life of a special needs parent includes an additional set of responsibilities and concerns other parents need not consider.
Special needs parents are often unable to participate in peer and family events to the extent that other parents are, and they may have given up their careers or other hobbies in order to focus on their special needs children full-time. This can lead to social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
What are some ways special needs parents can foster new friendships and relationships to prevent the feelings of isolation and loneliness? Here are a few tips on connecting with other special needs moms and dads and those who can help offer support and encouragement.
A local or regional support group for the families and parents of children with intellectual disabilities can be incredibly encouraging for parents who are in need of support or advice. The challenge is finding these groups in your community.
If there are schools for children with disabilities in your area, reach out to inquire about special needs support groups near you. Many schools who work to provide education for special needs children and adults also offer resources for families to help them cope with the emotional and physical burden of caring for a loved one with special needs.
Local religious organizations and community centers may also offer weekly or monthly meetings and opportunities for families with special needs children to connect and spend time together. You can also find local support groups for special needs children through sites intended to connect local community members, such as Meetup, where you’ll find more than 7,500 members from hundreds of special needs groups around the world.
If your community lacks opportunities for special needs parents to connect, consider creating your own support group in your area. Whether you meet a couple of local moms and their children for a playdate at the park or you create a dedicated support group which offers weekly meetings and other resources, creating your own support group may be the solution to another parent’s lack of community as well.
It can be challenging to find local groups of special needs parents to connect with, and it can be difficult to find activities outside of the home which are ideal for the families of special needs individuals, but there are plenty of online communities which offer support and encouragement.
There are also several online blogs for parents of special needs children which offer advice on every topic from choosing education for your child to parenting with patience.
The topic of self-care has become a bit of a trendy subject lately. It can seem trite to focus on the importance of a spa day or a trip to the nail salon when discussing an issue as important as parenting a child with special needs. However, the fact remains that taking time to provide for your own emotional wellbeing undoubtedly affects your ability to parent and love others well.
If you find yourself feeling isolated or lonely, ask a friend or family member to help ease your mind by volunteering to help babysit or look after your loved one while you take a few minutes or hours to run errands, complete household tasks, or even take a break to enjoy some time to yourself.
Because time for yourself is important, it’s also a good idea to create a support system you can rely on when you need time away. Parents, grandparents, friends, family, and babysitters who can lend a hand with household tasks and take more off of your plate are a blessing. Create your own support system which creates an opportunity to take time away when you need it while having peace of mind your loved one is well cared for.
If you are the parent of a special needs child experiencing feelings of loneliness or depression, a counselor may be able to offer guidance and support when you don’t know where else to turn. Most counselors are likely to have experience with parents of special needs children, and you can rest assured your concerns are important and also confidential under the care of a mental health provider.
Some counseling centers and therapists may even offer special programs for families of special needs children and adults to help cope with the unique challenges of navigating life with loved ones who have intellectual and physical disabilities.
As your child grows older, a desire for more independence may arise, and a community for special needs adults may be worth considering. In addition to providing assistance with basic chores and daily living, housing for special needs individuals offers both families and residents an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations.
The decision to choose housing for special needs adults as an option for a loved one is not an easy one, nor is it one to be taken lightly. However, it is an option which offers more independence for residents and more peace of mind for family members and loved ones. When is it time to consider community housing? Here are 3 situations in which it may be worth a conversation.
As children grow into their adolescent years, they tend to exhibit a desire for more independence, and children with special needs are no exception. Many young adults, including those with special needs, desire independence and more opportunities to make their own decisions.
If your loved one with special needs is exhibiting an increasing desire for independence, a home for special needs adults which offers a safe and nurturing environment along with opportunities for independence may be the solution. Many homes for special needs adults, including Baddour, offer employment opportunities for adults with special needs as well as educational opportunities for special needs adults and extracurricular activities for adults with special needs.
If your loved one invites or initiates a conversation on community housing for special needs adults, it’s worth considering. In addition to providing more independence, communities for special needs adults also offer ways for individuals to interact with others, enjoy more life experiences, and understand the world around them in new ways. Residents at Baddour are able to find employment, learn new skills, enjoy athletic events, and attend local concerts and other outings.
If a loved one has passed on in your family, or if a caretaker is no longer available to care for your loved one with special needs, your living situation may no longer be ideal. If you feel you are no longer able to provide the same care and commitment to a loved one with special needs, a community for special needs adults provides the same loving care along with opportunities for him or her to learn, work, and play.
For many years, Baddour Center has worked to create a community designed to accommodate special needs individuals who desire more independence and opportunities to grow and thrive spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually.
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