Posted: October 19, 2015
When you manage a community the size of ours, you’re bound to draw comments and opinions that feature a wide spectrum of opinions. While some posts have, quite honestly, shocked us in their animosity toward parents of children with special needs (another reason we need Cerebral Palsy advocates so much!), most can simply be deleted or ignored. One recent comment, from a parent of a child with special needs, highlighted an important issue.
A little while ago, we received the following comment in response to one of our regular ads providing free support and assistance to parents of children with Cerebral Palsy:
We bring this comment up not to rally support against this parent (which is why we blurred their name and face), nor show how ‘bad’ people can be. Instead, we bring this to light due to a very significant problem in the special needs community: the feeling of a need to compete.
Sadly, local and national services often leave parents of children with special needs lacking. With significant needs for decades, including care, education, therapy, adaptive equipment, education, etc. etc. etc. – many families are left with significant gaps in the services offered and accessible. As a result, sadly, there becomes a natural competition as parents scramble to get what they can for their child. Combining that with the wide range of emotions associated with being a special needs parent, frustration is both common and understandable.
The sad truth is that the parent above likely never considered the wide spectrum of challenges parents of children with Cerebral Palsy themselves can go through. Autism can even be a condition paired with Cerebral Palsy, meaning these two conditions aren’t even divorced from one another in some instances. The core reality, though, is that both children with autism AND children with Cerebral Palsy need better access to services; there should not be a mentality in the special needs community of which child is deserving but, instead, a need to band together for a common goal of helping children.
Feelings of isolation are common for parents of children with special needs, something we are extremely sensitive to and have even discussed before. Stressors are everywhere, making stress prevention/elimination another item we try to encourage. Our eBooks consistently include ways for parents to reach out and engage, not only with other parents of children with special needs, but the world at large. Support groups can be extremely helpful cogs in the support structure, but even those can be difficult for some. But, ultimately, if you do not know another parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, you likely do know a parent of a child with special needs. And as a result, there is a commonality that can be built upon, not only for fellowship but also for encouraging change.
The development of parks that accommodate children with special needs, encouraging change in special education programs, working with teachers for effective IEPs, gaining grants for schools to use for adaptive equipment and assistive technology that can help more than one child… these are all ways parents of children with special needs can rally for a common goal.
While we would love to be able to help all children with special needs, we are limited (at this time) to helping those with Cerebral Palsy. Our mandate stems from the very lack of services and assistance that, unfortunately, other parents face with their own children with diverging diagnoses. We hope, though, that in raising the profile of one example of special needs, it raises the profile of others as well.
If your child has Cerebral Palsy and you are looking for an avenue of help, contact us today. Our help, provided free of charge, aims to help your child reach their full potential and build toward a better tomorrow. You can also reach our care team by calling us at (800) 692-4453. We hope to speak with you soon!