Treat your differently-abled child with extra love and care
It is indeed true that one does not understand the complete profundity and subtlety of a situation unless they are faced with it or it concerns them directly. In cases of disabilities and impairments, it is even more delicate issue and we can discuss it its practical solutions and coping strategies best when we have someone with a similar problem in our close circle. Otherwise, it is very difficult to comprehend the ordeal of the affected person. Parents who have a differently-abled child have to go through immense level of hardships and crises to for his/her upbringing and to allow him/her to grow up in the healthiest and happiest way possible. There are many complications and intricacies involved in raising such a child, as is very obvious, but that doesn’t mean that they deserve any less care and affection. In fact, on the contrary, they need expressions of positive emotions all the more in order to feel secure and reassured.
Parenting is not a cakewalk. There are no rules or theories of bringing up a child perfectly. The equation is to be handled with even more fragility with the differently-abled child since things are more complex with them. Disability can be of various forms, such as physical, sensory, mental, cognitive or intellectual. The degree to which a child requires extra support depends on the magnitude and severity of the situation. There arises a multitude of situations that often puts parents in a fix; emotional trauma, psychological concerns, physical, social and financial pressures are but the mere tip of an iceberg. Such kids too can grow up to be at least a confident and independent individual, with the right intervention and support. It is a learning experience for such parents, which through a journey of tears and heartbreaks, is sure to usher in smiles and a sense of fulfillment and triumph.
The foremost step is to let go of such questions steeped in self-pity, like “Why me/my child”. It is very natural of a parent to feel this way, especially when they see other kids in the family are absolutely “normal”. Rather, discussing this with close friends and family can mitigate the stress and help the parents cope with the challenge in a better way. They must remember at every given point of time that being angry or cribbing about it will only aggravate the distress. Dealing with such a child can create distances between a husband and a wife, so make sure you understand and handle each other’s emotional turmoil with care. Both parents need to take care of the financial pressures, understand each other’s perspectives and work out the best possible ways to deal with the situation, without being critical. If there is a sibling, the situation must be explained to him/her and they should be encouraged to get involved in the entire process. Often, such siblings develop feelings of embarrassment, envy (for the differently-abled child gets more care) or animosity but with time, such emotions subside.
Parents should also spare time for the other sibling and let them pursue activities of their own choice, motivate them to shed their inhibitions about their sibling and so on.
Interacting with other families/parents that are also faced with a similar ordeal can widen perspectives and ideas. Such children just need to be reassured that they are loved and cared for, and that itself can help bring out their prowess. Parents should try their best to be a friend, philosopher and guide to them braving their future uncertainties. These days, many organizations have also come up that devise unique ways to make a difference in the lives of such children, and to make the process of their growing up a little easier for their parents. Parents can also learn a great deal by remaining familiar with the online world, which can contribute a treasure chest of information and support in the form of care groups and doctors.
Walk along in the journey, holding the hand of your dearest one, and let him/her blossom in a unique way! Remember Scott Hamilton’s quote-“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”