Saturday, February 14, 2015

How to be the parent of a disabled child

No one is expecting to have a child with a disability. It catches them off guard and there really is no time to prepare for the shock of it. Sometimes you find out before your child is born and sometimes not until they are 3 or 4. No matter when the news comes though, it's devastating. It feels like all your dreams for your child have come crashing down and you're left wondering what now. I know I felt that way when I found out my baby was disabled. There's some things I learned over the past eight years on how to be a parent of a disabled child and now I'm going to share that with you all.

The first and most important thing you need is love. You have to be able to love harder and hold them tighter. They will always need you more than a typical child. I know the bond I have with Janelle is so strong that sometimes my heart feels like it will burst with love for her. She doesn't know hate, teasing, or racism. She loves everyone so how could I have anything other than pure love for her.

Be patient. Not everything is going to happen on schedule. You may have to wait to see the first steps or you may never see them at all. Your child may crawl later, talk later, even smile later, but they will do everything they can when it's their time. There isn't anything you can do to make it happen faster. Trust me though each milestone will come with such joy and celebration you'll know it was worth the wait.

Be a fighter. You will need to fight for services, therapist, doctors. You will be your child's biggest advocate. You will learn to research, fill out paper work, and speak medical terms like a pro.

Be a dreamer. Have dreams for your child and their future. Have dreams for them and cling to them. They can be anything from speaking to living independently.

I hope you never have a need to use this list, but to be honest if you do have a disabled child you won't need it. This stuff comes natural. Remember as Jesus said: The greatest of these is love.

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