Having a child with unique needs can be the beginning of a journey that leads to great spiritual blessings. Learning how to raise a child with a disability is a process, not an event.
You may struggle at times with painful emotions as you try to understand the disability of your child and your role as a parent. Having a child with unique needs, however, can be the beginning of a journey that leads to great spiritual blessings. Draw close to Heavenly Father and allow His Spirit to comfort and instruct you. Trust that God will make you equal to the challenge and will bless you with insight and understanding in making decisions regarding the welfare of your child.
- Helps for Fathers of Children with Disabilities
- Helps for Mothers of Children with Disabilities
- Helping Children Understand Their Siblings with Disabilities
- Helps for Grandparents of Children with Disabilities
Seek Guidance and Help
- Counsel frequently with the Lord through prayer and scripture study. The Holy Ghost can provide comfort and insights into your child’s unique needs.
- Learn all you can about the disability. Professionals and reliable sources of information can help you to understand your child’s disability and needs. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Talk with other parents who share your values and who have similar struggles. This can help you understand your own feelings and can provide you valuable support.
- Seek an eternal perspective. Trust that Heavenly Father loves you and your child. He will hear and answer your prayers. The sacrifices you make for your child can be a blessing that brings you closer to your Father in Heaven.
- Remember that you are preparing for eternity. Your child’s disability is temporary. The spirit is not disabled.
- Learn to recognize the Lord in your life.
Strengthen Your Family
Some disabilities may involve physical differences; however, your child’s disability may not be visible or readily apparent. This may make it harder for siblings, grandparents, and other family members to understand your child’s disability and know how to help.
Remember, extended family members may experience the same feelings of ignorance and fear that you felt when you learned of the diagnosis. Accepting the disability may be harder for some family members.
- As soon as you understand the diagnosis of your child, prayerfully explain it to your children and other family members.
- Help family members understand the disability. Answer their questions honestly.
- Be patient with one another as family members adjust to new challenges and changes.
- Ask children, grandparents, and other family members to help in specific ways; this will help them feel included.
- Do not allow the disability to become the focus of all family activities. Do some things that are special to the child with the disability, but do other activities that meet the needs of other children. Where possible, do things that include all family members.
- Keep the family balanced; help all members understand that they are loved and that all must accommodate each other.
- Strengthen yourself; you need time to relax away from the constant demands that may be required.
- Strengthen your marriage; spend time with your spouse doing things that you both enjoy.
- Strive to keep a balance between encouraging independence and protecting your child from harm. Play to your child’s strengths and treat him or her as normally as possible. Provide your child with every opportunity to develop skills, talents, and abilities.