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Important Things Your Neurotypical Child Wants You to Understand as a Special Needs Parent

I love you so much and want you to know that you are my role models. The endless time, energy, and love you put into caring for my sibling with special needs is incredibly unreal. I know that raising my sibling is such a joy, but I also understand that it can be quite a challenge that requires a large responsibility.
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To my mommy, daddy, and other special needs parents,

I love you so much and want you to know that you are my role models. The endless time, energy, and love you put into caring for my sibling with special needs is incredibly unreal. I know that raising my sibling is such a joy, but I also understand that it can be quite a challenge that requires a large responsibility. As a loving, neurotypical sister, and from observing my own and other special needs parents, there are a few recommendations I would like to make when it comes to raising my sibling and others with special needs.

1) Take Care of Yourself

I want you to know is that it's okay to emotionally and physically breakdown, feel stressed, and lose your cool. Your health needs to be your number one priority, because there is no way you can take care of me or my sibling unless you take care of yourself, first. If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, I ask that you please seek help! Overtime, your exhaustion will accumulate and can potentially cause illness. It would be tragic to see you get sick from not taking proper self care.

I appreciate that my sibling is your biggest priority, but you don't always have to be so "strong."

A true champion parent finds balance in life, and the real meaning of strength is determined by how you can balance care for your children and care for yourself.

When make yourself a priority, you will have more energy and will be, overall, a better parent.

Myself and other siblings of special needs can tell when you are not taking care of yourself, because we can feel how the stress, anger, and frustration creep its way into the home life and relationships.


Tip to help: Communicate better with mommy or daddy and delegate responsibilities. Sometimes responsibility of my sibling's care falls too heavily on one parent. Talk about delegating the responsibilities with your partner so it gives you time to rejuvenate and replenish your energy.

2) Be Proud of My Sibling

Though my sibling may act differently, they are a gift to the universe, and are here to do great things for themselves and others. For everything my sibling cannot do that a neurotypical person can, there is something my sibling can do that a neurotypical person cannot, for example, remembering dates on a calendar or doing calculations in their head. We should be so proud of the many beautiful talents and lessons people with special needs have to offer.

If my sibling has meltdown or can't control what they are saying, please go with it. Don't yell or feel embarrassed, because this is who they are and it will not change.

Sure, we can utilize therapies to help control and channel their emotions, but we cannot use therapy to take away the deep sensitivity that they feel.

Your attitude towards my sibling is the precedent of how others will treat them. If you treat my sibling with respect, kindness, and understanding, others will follow. (Even if they don't, you have the kahunas to teach them).

Tip to help: Instead of talking about what they cannot do, talk about the things they can do, the things they rock at!

Put yourself in these shoes -- imagine that you are terrible at math, and ALL someone talks about is how awful you are at math. NO?!?! Can you imagine how annoying that would get and how bad that would feel?

Focus on what your child has done and what their aspirations are! This feels SO MUCH BETTER than talking negatively about what cannot be done. And actually, in my opinion, I bet your child CAN do the things that you are saying they cannot do. Anything is possible in this world, as long as we are open to believing it and re able to find ways to make it happen.

3) Embrace Their Potential

I want you to realize that YOU are the catalyst for my sibling's success. If you positively encourage them to pursue their dreams and to use their strengths, they will be successful. If you constantly put them down and tell them they cannot do things, they will not believe in themselves.

Do not let others tell you what your child is capable of, not even top doctors or teachers.

Go with your intuition because if you feel your child is capable of something, they are. Also, if your neurotypical child is telling you that their special needs sibling is capable of something as well, believe they are right, too. Parents and siblings are the ones that will change the almost "impossible" task to simply possible.

A personal example is when doctors told my parents that my sibling would never speak. After early intervention and years of therapy, hysterically, my brother now talks constantly! We always believed that he could do anything, and look at our incredible result! Woot woot!


Tip to help: ( Insert your child's name here) has the potential to do absolutely anything his or her heart desires.

How does it feel to say that out loud? Scary? Exciting?! You bet, say this out loud to help you keep believing that anything is possible!

4) Look For Opportunities

Fortunately, our world is facilitating more opportunities for our special needs community. Everyday it seems that there are new job training programs and other organizations to help people with special needs succeed.

I am tired of hearing "there is nothing out there" to facilitate my sibling's success.

In this day and age, we are extremely advanced in technology and have access to many new outlets that can design great things catered to enhance the strengths of people with special needs.


Tip to help: If you search through programs and do to find something that fits your child's needs, {screaming this out loud} create it yourself.

The regular work world might not be a good fit for their needs, however, there are plenty of opportunities to create something perfect for your child. You are the one that knows what their strengths are and where they can be used to maximize their potential. If you know these two things, you are halfway there! With creative thought, anything can be made possible.

5) Have a Separate Identity

As beautiful as it is to be your child's primary caregiver, it is always important to remember who you are. Sometimes parents get so wrapped up in their child, that it takes over their personal identity.

Instead of being referred to as an individual with talents and aspirations, identically speaking, you can inhabit an identity as your "child's caregiver".

It is important to separate your own identity from the "caregiver" identity, and to remember to not live through your child 24/7.

Tip to help: Separate yourself from your child and mentally or physically note who you are as a person. What do YOU enjoy? What makes you unique? Take up a new hobby if you need help finding yourself.

6) Be a WARRIOR

Flex your muscles high in the air! Do you feel your Hercules arms bulging out? Yes, you're awesome and you know it. It takes special people to raise someone with special needs.

Mommy, daddy, and other special needs parents- I don't want you to ever feel alone when taking care of my sibling. You always have me and an incredible group of close friends and family that are always supporting you. Your health, along with your encouragement and positive attitude is what will help my sibling be happy and succeed in life. I hope these points of advice will help you awaken to any of these problems that you are having so you can take action to make positive changes. Please remember how beautiful you are and that we're all in this together.

So much love,