Raising a child with special needs can be a challenging but rewarding experience for families. However, it can also be difficult to navigate the various resources and services available to help support your child. In this blog post, we will explore strategies for families to feel better about asking for help for their child with special needs. There are several reasons why a family may hesitate to do so:
- Fear of judgement: Parents may be afraid that others will judge them or think they are not capable of caring for their child.
- Stigma: There is often a societal stigma associated with having a child with special needs. This can make parents feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help.
- Lack of information: Parents may not know where to find resources or what services are available for their child. This can make it difficult for them to know where to begin when seeking help.
- Financial burden: Caring for a child with special needs can be financially draining, and parents may be afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to appear financially unstable.
- Overwhelmed: Parents of children with special needs may be feeling overwhelmed and may not know how to ask for help without feeling like they are asking too much.
- Fear of losing control: Some parents may be afraid of losing control over their child’s care if they ask for help. They may worry that if they ask for help, they will be giving up some of their autonomy as a parent.
- Fear of not getting the right help: Parents may be afraid to ask for help because they are not sure if they will get the right kind of help or if it will meet their child’s needs.
Helping families overcome these obstacles is why Henderson Haven was started as a free advocacy service 20 years ago and it’s still a service we provide to this day. One of the first things families should understand is that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It takes courage to admit that you need assistance, and it is important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. There are many families going through similar experiences and many professionals and organizations that are willing to help and, seeking support is crucial for the well-being of both your child and your family.
With the rise of social media, families are seeing those with developmental disabilities obtain lives that many considered inaccessible. This can be a wonderful thing! It shows families and communities what’s possible when you give those with special needs a chance. But this can also be a burden on those not experiencing these successes. They may perceive these as the only acceptable measures of success. They may already have doubts because of what they’ve been told their child’s limitations are by “experts”, and so they lower their own expectations. We can’t measure our success against other’s!
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the earlier you ask for help, the better it will be for your child. The earlier your child receives the right kind of support, the better chance they have of reaching their full potential. It’s important that families view these services not as care or babysitting, but as investments in their child’s future. We don’t think twice about starting our children in gymnastics at 3. We look at it as a skill that will help them as they mature into young adults. Shouldn’t life skills be viewed with the same or even more significance? Too often we see parents wait until their child ages out of school to start looking for help.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that asking for help doesn’t mean giving up control of your child’s care. You are always the primary decision-maker for your child, and you can work with professionals and organizations to develop a plan that meets your child’s needs and aligns with your values and goals.
Now that we’ve looked at the obstacles and demonstrated the importance of asking for help, what’s next? Pick up that phone or send us an email! We’re here for you and we pledge we will help you make decisions that are best for you and your family, not for us. Whether it’s a Henderson Haven program or another option, there’s help out there. Even though it can be a difficult and confusing road, we can help you navigate it, but you have to take that first step. It’s not weakness, it’s being responsible. It’s making sure your loved one is given the very best chance at the life you want for them and making sure you and the rest of your family get to experience the best possible life as well. The earlier we get started, the easier it will be, and the more progress we’ll make.