Like many others, you may feel unprepared for the challenges of nurturing a child with a disability. We are reminded in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102) that mothers have a special responsibility to nurture their children. Because of this the Lord has blessed mothers with the insight and understanding necessary to make decisions regarding the welfare of their children.
Remember, learning how to raise a child with a disability is a process, not an event. It may take time to adjust to the demands and challenges and to learn how to care for this specific child. These demands may change as your child’s needs change—just as demands change for all children as they grow.
Mothers often feel responsible for the happiness and success of everyone in the family. It can be very challenging to balance the needs of one child, the needs of other family members, and your own needs for health and well-being.
Remember that God loves you and your children. He will never abandon you. He can give you strength and guidance.
Difficult and painful events in mortality are not evidence that God is punishing or rejecting you or your child. Even God’s Beloved Son experienced sorrow and pain while in mortality (see Isaiah 53:3). Although God has not revealed all things to us now, you can trust that He is a loving God and cares for you and your child.
- Counsel frequently with your husband if you are married. If you are a single parent, seek support from other family members and priesthood leaders.
- Seek understanding and advice from qualified professionals concerning your child.
- Do not exclude or isolate your spouse in caring for your child. The family proclamation instructs, “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102).
- Take time to restore yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Caring for a child with a disability can sometimes be exhausting. Remember that the Lord does not require you to run faster than you have strength (see Mosiah 4:27; D&C 10:4).
- Accept that you may not be able to meet all your child’s needs by yourself. Raising a child with a disability requires a team effort. It may require the involvement and skills of many people at each stage of the child’s development. Be open to help and suggestions from others who care.
- If you have other children, help them understand the disability, the cause of the behavior of the child, and the needs of the child with the disability. They may at times struggle with confusing feelings. Help them feel comfortable expressing and understanding their own feelings about the family and the disability. Take the time to listen.
- Prayerfully consider ways to strengthen yourself, your marriage, and home life.
- Strive to keep your family balanced.