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Living with Special Needs

Joe Rich's Tips

Schedule Time for Yourself

Everyone needs downtime, but when you are the parent of a child or children with special needs, it’s mandatory. Go for a walk, get a massage or grab a coffee with a friend. But, unless you make a point of putting it in your schedule, it likely won’t happen.

Make Time for Each Other

Marriages need to be cultivated, much like a garden. It’s a process. Giving each other 10 minutes each night to talk about the day and how each of you are feeling will help your partner feel loved and supported. Sometimes small gestures can have the biggest impact.

Check Into Respite Care

Often parents feel guilty considering respite care, and it’s often a last resort. But caring for your child with special needs 24/7 without a break can put an enormous amount of stress on a family. Check into respite programs thoroughly, talk to other families in similar situations and get referrals. It’s important to consider all of your options.

Make Decisions as a Team

If you are both on board with a plan of action, it’s that much more likely to be successful – and less likely that you can blame each other after the fact. Don't make any major or minor decisions without consulting each other. And if one of you is not comfortable with a decision, talk it out.

Seek Help

Sometimes you need an objective third party, to weigh in and help you both through a difficult time. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, or turning to a marriage counselor. In fact, it can often bring you even closer together, having a positive impact on the whole family.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


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