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Raising a Child With Special Needs

Yesterday was horrible in the war of raising a child with special needs.  It started in the morning. I knew the moment my son woke up and I heard the low growl “Don’t touch me!” when his brother tried giving him a hug, it wasn’t going to be a good day. In terms of the awfulness scale of 1 to 10, the day pretty much ranked a 100.

Tip: Your child isn’t purposely trying your patience. Take a deep breath to calm yourself before engaging in a battle of words or wits.

He was out of sorts all day long. He was overtired. He was overly-emotional about everything and doing everything in his power to push my buttons. Or at least it felt like it. He came inside every twenty minutes to tell me the kids were being mean to him. At one point one of the kids came to the door and he freaked out running away. The kid was attempting to apologize. Me, I wanted to pull out my hair.

Tip: Wrapping your arms around your child having a severe tantrum and holding them firmly while allowing them to vent and act out can help keep them from harming you, themselves and others. It is not a form of child abuse. Remember that you are their safe place.

The meltdown lasted forty-five minutes. I had to do a sit-down time-out with my son. That’s where we sit on the floor and I wrap my arms and legs around him, holding him close and tight but not hurting him in any way, shape or form. This allowed him to vent and thrash without hurting himself or me. He banged his head on the floor and tried to claw on his arms. Angry tears spilled down his face. My heart broke open.

Tip: Sometimes a child acting out simply needs some added rest or sleep. Not enough sleep for children leads to crankiness. Who wants a cranky child?

I finally got my son to nap. It was only for an hour but better than nothing, I say. My son was so tired. He cried and cried, tugging at my heartstrings. I asked him why he was feeling upset. The answer was always the same. He had no idea what was wrong.

Tip: Keep a journal of your child’s emotions, actions, foods they are eating, anything you think is a contributing factor to their behavior. It helps for when you have your next doctor’s appointment.

After many tantrums and yelling matches, my son finally seemed to calm a little. I put him in the bath so he could relax before bed. He was defiant over every little thing. After he was done, in bed and asleep, I jumped in the tub and bawled. I was emotionally spent.

Tip: Trust your instincts.

Kids have good days and bad days. It can hurt as a parent watching your child suffer. You want to help. You want to be able to reach them. You want to be able to take away their sadness. No matter what anyone says, trust your instincts. Doctors can be wrong. Pediatricians don’t have all the answers. You know your child. Listen to your voice and what it says. That’s the best way you can help.

I knew my son had cerebral palsy before he was diagnosed. I can’t explain how I knew, I just did. And despite the hard times. Despite the pain, he goes through. The mood swings and trouble with friends. Despite the fact, his teachers don’t see his challenges, and even family members question things. I know the truth. I know what he goes through because I’m his mother.

Remember to reach out when you need to because you are never alone.

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