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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Three Things Common to Parents of Special Needs Children

I want to give you some encouragement as you began another school year.

I have discovered that there are three things that are common to parents, especially moms, of special needs children.  They are grief, a sense of inadequacy, and guilt.

We grieve over our loss and that of our child and family.  Grief comes and goes.  It is not experienced and put behind us. For, at the most unexpected moment, even after years of acceptance, you may experience it anew.  It is o.k.!  Embrace it then let it go as you once again move on with life.

The sense of inadequacy that we experience is not a sign of the truth, but rather a symptom of the condition we find ourselves in.  I have found as I encourage moms of special kids that it matters not the education or training a mother has.  Even the mom with a degree in special education struggles with a sense of inadequacy when it comes to teaching her own child.  Learning this has helped me to understand that the Lord is the only true source for our sense of adequacy.

We experience guilt over many things.  We feel guilt because we think “surely someone else could help my special child progress more quickly.”  Then there is the guilt over not having “enough” time for our other children, and the list goes on.  Before we embrace this guilt we must look to the Word.  Proverbs 20:24 says, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”  And in Romans 8:28a we read, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  So let us be at peace knowing that God is working good for each member of our family as we learn to be content and see the blessings that God has provided for us right where we are.

Jane and her husband, married in 1969, began homeschooling in 1982 and now have three adult children.  Jud and Jane are the legal guardians of their youngest daughter who has cerebral palsy and is deaf.  Jane was one of the original founders of ICHE and has been involved in ICHE’s ministry to families with struggling and special needs learners from 1999 until her "retirement" in 2009.  She continues to act as consultant with ICHE in the area of special needs.

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