Friday, September 13, 2013

Parents of Children with Special Needs - Alleviating Stress and Planning for the Future


Special NeedsAs a parent, receiving news about a difficult diagnosis, such as autism or any other special need or disability, can induce feelings of anger, grief, and stress. A thousand questions race through the mind: What does it mean to have a child with special needs? What will the future hold? If something happens to me, who will be there for my child and how can I ensure that his or her needs are met?

Recent research has indicated that parents of children with special needs may even experience feelings and symptoms of traumatic stress, particularly at the time of their child’s diagnosis. Parents may feel pressure from family and friends to be “strong” or to remain positive, causing them to bottle up their emotions, feelings of stress, and concerns for the future. Below are some ways that parents of special needs children can alleviate stress and gain comfort:

  • Take time for yourself: Taking time to rejuvenate and relax will help you respond to daily stressors and be more available to your children and partner.
  • Express and share your feelings of grief: Find a way to share your story with trusted friends, family or professionals who will help you sort out your feelings.
  • Seek out parent and peer support groups: Speaking with others who “have been there” can be very comforting.
  • Work with agencies or individuals who focus on the parent-child relationship, and help promote the growth and development of your child: Skilled therapists or interventionists can help promote feelings of connection and competence with your child and can reduce stress by providing another forum in which you can discuss your experiences, concerns and feelings.
  • Get peace of mind by planning for your child’s future: Parents of those with special needs are tasked with planning for their children throughout their lifetime, as many of them will outlive their parents but might not be able to support themselves and live independently. Nothing is more comforting than knowing your child will be taken care of should something happen to you. Meet with a Certified Elder Law Attorney who specializes in Special Needs, such as Evan H. Farr, to discuss options for your family.

As a parent or guardian, you want to ensure that your child with special needs will remain financially secure even when you are no longer there to provide support.  A Special Needs Trust is a vehicle that provides assets from which a disabled person can maintain his or her quality of life, while still remaining eligible for needs-based programs that will cover basic health and living expenses.

If you have a special needs child who will likely need care for life, it’s important to provide legal protections for your child. The Fairfax Special Needs Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. can guide you through this process. Be sure to check out our dedicated Special Needs Website at http://VirginiaSpecialNeeds.com. If you have a loved one with special needs, call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

Special Needs

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