You’ve probably heard the cliché “It takes a village to raise a child.” But sometimes, it can feel like you’re alone on an island while raising your child with special needs. You may be wondering where that village could be, where you can find other parents with a similar situation to you.
No matter how isolated you feel, no matter how shut onto your island you think you are, there are always ways of building bridges. However, finding those bridges aren’t always an easy thing. But we want to help you search for places, organizations, and online resources to be able to help you and your child feel supported.
Start with a pediatrician, an OT, or a Special Education teacher
Pediatricians are there for your kiddo. Occupational therapists just want to help. Special Educators are equipped with a lot of resources. They have a lot of knowledge about the who, what, when, where’s, and how’s of special needs parents. Chances are, they know kiddos and parents who are similar to you. They are able to give you great, educated advice about how your child might best thrive.
Asking for help and resources from the aforementioned individuals could be a great way to integrate yourself into the community and build bridges so that you are not so alone.
Find a support group
Support groups are a great thing for a lot of people. The idea of getting a lot of people together with similar experiences to talk about their feelings in a safe, relatively comfortable setting can work wonders for your mental health. Finding one can be difficult, however. Utilize Google and Facebook events to find a local support group.
If there are no local support groups, there are a lot of Facebook groups for parents of children with special needs! Members on those groups are often diverse and can be pretty helpful. Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt, as not all Facebook support groups may be exactly what you’re looking for.
This way, you can compare experiences, get tips about advocating in school settings, and insights as to what your child may be experiencing at any given time. It’s a great way to build bridges from what can feel like an island of isolation.
Keep your chin up
Even on the toughest days of parenting, there are good things. At the end of the day, try and list three things that you’re grateful for. This will help you keep the positive perspective that keeps life upbeat. You’re doing great.