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Special needs parenting is more

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Special needs parenting is more.

I write about parenting a child with a disability; outside opinions come with the territory. I get the comment, “this could be said of all parents” or something of the sort regularly. Us parents of kids with disabilities hear it a lot, from those close to us and from strangers. Here’s the thing, it’s often true. Parenting is parenting, yes. But there’s something we need you to know:

Special needs parenting is more.

All parents are concerned about their children’s health. We try to provide good nutrition, we tear up at their vaccinations, we keep track of their medicines. Special needs parents do all those things, we also add in more specialists and therapists. We sometimes mourn the developmental chart our kids can’t keep up with. We sit through surgeries and regular blood draws. We specialize in paperwork, being on hold, and fighting with insurance companies.


Special needs parenting is more.

We all worry about our kids at school. We hope they make friends instantly, we hope the teacher likes them, we want our kids to learn and feel fulfilled. Special needs parents have those same hopes and concerns. But, before the school bell rings, we often need to attend classes to learn about our child’s rights. Even with laws on our side, we sometimes have to hire advocates and lawyers to get our children the most appropriate education. Meanwhile, we hope our children will be able to tell us something about their day, or even their week. Stress and paperwork are plentiful.


Special needs parenting is more.

All parents deal with their kid’s behavior issues. We redirect, reprimand and discipline. We feel the horror of public tantrums and beat down by the days gone awry. Special needs parents deal with this, but we often have communication barriers or neurological differences to navigate. We worry about what our children understand and don’t understand. We are often guessing. We read studies, and books, and take courses to try to help our kids better understand rules and expectations. We add supports and hope the world around them is understanding of the added challenges. We pray for extra patience ourselves.

Special needs parenting is more.

We are not drawing a line in the sand. We are not shouting our lives are harder to try to win some invisible competition. We just need you to know, to really know us, to truly understand our family, we need you to recognize our lives alongside our children are often intensified.

Much of our journey is like yours. Our steps are fueled by love; the love is the same. But oftentimes there are more twists and turns on the road we travel.

Special needs parenting is not better nor worse.

It’s just more.

This post originally appeared on You can follow Jillian on Facebook and Instagram.

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