Why Special Needs Parents Need a Break – But Never Take them.

July 5, 2016

Summer is in full swing and the kids are probably out of school and in camp or daily activities. Wouldn’t now be a great time to take a much needed break? Why is giving yourself a break so hard for many parents?

Parents are responsible for a lot!  There’s scheduling of activities, planning and making of meals, health, exercise, socialization and the list goes on and on. In fact, it seems like the list never ends. Ever. All parents have the responsibility for caring for a little human life.  But parents of children with autism know that caring for a special needs child requires a little extra. Every detail must be accounted for and the planning and readjusting of the schedule seems to be endless.

Remember that self-care is actually just as important as caring for your child. We want to give all of ourselves to our children. We want to be everything and comfort them and meet all of their needs at all times. We can and we do. But all of this can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. For these reasons,  finding a little time for yourself is even more important.

While no one solution will work for every family maybe one of these suggestions will work for yours.

  • Research a play center that has designated times for special needs children who may have sensory, communication or socialization issues.
  • For longer breaks research and use summer camps that are designed for special needs children. Knowing that counselors understand the special needs of your child can make being apart a little easier.
  • Invest support services meant for families like yours. There are support agencies for special needs families all across the world. They give families/caretakers necessary breaks away from life, or they can even help with everyday support, depending on the level of need. The workers are all experienced, professional people who know how to work with your children!
  • Find a babysitter through a service that has specially trained employees that can meet the needs that you have.
  • Ask for help from extended family members.
  • Another option that families enjoy is respite care offered through parent “co-ops.” This is when families of kids with special needs take turns watching each others kids. For example, you can take someone else’s child for one day or evening a month, and that person can do the same for you. Support groups for families with your child’s condition are a good place to meet other families.