Many parents are caring for a special needs child. This can put a strain on a marriage and impacts the entire family. Also, sometimes friends and others are clueless about what to say to a parent dealing with raising a child with special needs and/or disabilities. Psychotherapy for Special Needs Children is a service we offer. Read on to learn more.
One caring psychotherapy practice in Briar Creek, NC, offers compassionate, effective and supportive parental, family and group psychotherapy for special needs children, their parents and other family members that can bring hope, help and understanding to all involved.
What Does the Term “Special Needs” Child Mean? Is This a Disability?
Many still use descriptive words like disability and special needs interchangeably. A disability is usually referring to a physical or mental deficit of some sort. The term special needs refers to a youth who has been determined to need special attention, care and educational needs than most other children of the same age would require.
A special needs child might require certain necessary aids or learning assistance such as, but not limited to, being able to take tests orally if the child has learning delays or has difficulty reading, writing or understanding certain concepts. Additionally, these types of learning and other special needs diagnostic terms may be used by public schools and assistance or support programs that help meet those needs.
Note that it is possible to have both one or more diagnosed disabilities along with other special needs diagnoses. Certain birth defects or trauma during birth that leaves the infant oxygen deprived can often cause mental, emotional and other deficits as a direct result.
Some Commonly Diagnosed Special Needs in Children
There are some diagnoses related to special needs issues that are more common in children these days. These include:
- Learning Disabilities/Differences
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Emotional & Social Disorders
- Speech, Language or Communication Delays
- Various Cognitive Delays Among Many Others
How Psychotherapy for Special Needs Children, Parents & Families Can Help
Most special needs children receive some sort of mental health counseling or related services to help them cope with their unique issues in a safe place and at their level of understanding.
Parents too can benefit from psychotherapy immensely. Also, these parents are under a great deal of stress, and that pent-up anxiety, fears and even anger need a healthy outlet. Furthermore, learning how to meditate or use mindfulness strategies can really help parents keep their lives balanced and productive.
Parents of special needs kids often are amazed by how much psychotherapy can help them develop healthy and effective coping strategies, make better use of time management and learn more effective ways to communicate with and understand their child on a deeper level.
Family therapy can also help parents and siblings of a special needs child better deal with the challenges in a positive manner. Also, families that undergo psychotherapy often find they have a new and deeper understanding of a special needs child in their midst.
Simple Ways People Can Help & Support Parents with a Special Needs Child
Often, neighbors, friends, coworkers and church members desire to help support parents with a special needs child but are unsure of what to say or do. A seasoned psychiatrist in Raleigh urges people to keep it simple and say things like “I’m here for you” or “Call if your want to talk” as two easy approaches.
Along with the simple statement that you care, people can do the following to truly put their words to action.
- Offer to Care for Pets or Other Kids
- Do Yard Work
- Offer to Run Errands, Grocery Shop or Pick Up Essential Items
- Visit, Call or Text to Show Support
- Initiate a Conversation
- Take a Walk with the Parents, Other Siblings or the Child
- Make Meals if Child is in the Hospital or Away
- Include the Child in Birthday Parties or Play Dates
- Offer Porch Therapy – A Place for Parents to Vent, Cry or Unwind
- Give the Other Kids Attention or Small Gifts
- Most Importantly – Listen & Be a Normal Friend
What parents of a special needs child don’t need is:
- Ignored or Treated Differently or Excluded
- Neighborhood Gossip Subject
- Ignorant Comments or Looks
- Unsolicited Pushy Advice
Listening and kindness backed up with small and appreciated acts or good deeds. This will always be relevant and appreciated by those who need some hope and a shoulder to lean on.