In my family, we don’t experience too many situations that fall into the normal category. With special needs kids, normal is something that we have almost no comprehension of. Normal is a subjective term anyway and it’s going to be different for everyone.
It’s because of the above reasons, so many special needs families struggle. It’s hard to find help for situations where unless you’ve lived it yourself, you can’t possible truly comprehend.
This is where the whole walk a mile in my shoes, cliché as fuck phrase, applies incredibly well.
I run into that quite frequently in my life. There’s a surprising amount of well intentioned people in the world (which is a good thing) who want to help but don’t seem to grasp that the obvious solution doesn’t always work. This has a tendency to come across as not wanting help or just shooting down the idea.
I tell people all the time, that if it were that simple, I would have done it already.
It sometimes creates tension where it shouldn’t because the people trying to help feel like they’re being snubbed and the special needs parent feels once again, the people trying to help don’t understand the situation.
There shouldn’t be hurt feelings but we’re all human and even in the most well intentioned scenarios, shit happens.
So much of what goes into being a special needs parent requires outside of the box thinking. It’s frustrating, exhausting and overwhelming to say the least. It’s scary as well because this basically means that many times, there is no commonsense approach that will work. All too often it feels like we’re flying blind.
Being a special needs parent requires the patience of a saint, as well as a level of creativity and flexibility that allows for outside of the box solutions to be formulated. It also requires the guts to implement the solution formulated, even when everyone around you thinks you’re crazy or overreacting.
My wife and I are blessed because for the most part, the people in our immediate lives are very supportive, even if they don’t always understand why we do things a certain way. This is something we never take for granted.
One of the best things you can do to help a special needs parent or family is to find out how you can help them. Sometimes simply asking what they need will get you the answers you need. There will be other times when you’ll have to use your best judgment. Generally speaking, anything that makes life a little bit easier is welcomed. Anything surrounding a break or even the ability to take a nap can often times be a home run.
One of the toughest things is going to be accepting what you think the solution should be, isn’t always the one that will work.
If you’re someone who wants to help a special needs parent in your life, be patient. Understand that special needs parenting is not easy and helping a special needs parent isn’t always going to be either.