Caring for a child with special needs is probably one of the most difficult, yet rewarding jobs there is. But just like any other job, it requires a certain amount of expertise, which can be hard to come by.
While parents of children without special needs normally have a large network of other parents to draw from for advice, parents of children with special needs often don’t know other parents in similar situations. Further, raising a special needs child is inherently more complicated due to having to navigate through any educational implications, ongoing medical treatment, and possibly the need to seek public assistance.
To help parents in their search for information, here are some resources for caring for special needs children:
- US Department of Education website – Whether your child is physically or mentally handicapped, this list of resources aggregated by the Department of Education should have what you’re looking for: from coping with ADHD at home and at school, to referral services for deaf-blind children, and organizations that provide information or assistance related to special education.
- Children With Special Needs (childrenwithspecialneeds.com) - A site “run by parents, for parents.” It lists a number of common disabilities experienced by children, like spina bifida, Down’s syndrome, and epilepsy, and provides a description of each and links to external resources. The site also offers free downloads of Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) materials for use by parents of children with autism and other special needs.
- Parent Center Network (parentcenternetwork.org) – The Parent Center Network was created thanks to a grant from the US Department of Education. The site provides information on state-based resource centers where parents of disabled children can go to learn about support groups, programs, publications, and workshops.
Are you a parent or caretaker of a special needs child with helpful advice to share? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
Sources: ed.gov, childrenwithspecialneeds.com, and parentcenternetwork.org