“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Confucius
Caregiver Support for Parents of Children With Developmental Disabilities
Parenting is challenging at best, however parenting a child with multiple disabilities is exponentially difficult and can have a profound effect on marital relationships as well as on entire families due to the many unique and complex needs of the child. Though family and friends are likely sympathetic they cannot fully grasp the challenges and demands placed upon caregivers/parents on a daily basis. At times it may feel like the household revolves around the child and that the child’s needs are having to be met around the clock, finding little time for self-care or anything else.
Finding balance is important amid feelings of anxiety, guilt, grief and stress. If you feel that you and your spouse have drifted apart and the entire focus of your relationship and communication is always about the care of your child, the most important thing that you can do is to carve out some “couple time” where you refocus on each other. It is also crucial to consider professional, supportive counselling with a knowledgeable clinician who has extensive experience in working with trauma, disabilities, autism, caregiving systems, supports and your unique family dynamics. Emotional support is crucial and it is important to discuss and acknowledge your emotions and feelings. An experienced clinician will assist you and your spouse to develop better coping skills in order to deal with some of these emotions, short and long term planning for yourself and your child, and finding the right resources to support your needs. He/she will also help you to adjust as a couple/family and help you to define your goals to reflect your reality as the parents of a child with multiple disabilities.
With more than 35 years of extensive experience working within the developmental sector, has given me a rare and intimate glimpse into the unique dynamics of families who have a child/family member with a disability and the challenges that they face.