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It's a good plan to stay connected to other families raising children with special needs, and to keep up with the latest information, opinion, resources and support available, in a most convenient way.
Our children's special needs are only small parts of who they are and who they can be. We want them to have the best opportunities to achieve their potential, with a richness of experience and also a sense of delight.
When a child is diagnosed with a developmental delay, chronic health condition, learning disability, or intellectual challenge, your already full family schedule probably needs to accommodate a few more activities.
Your son or daughter may need reassurance and will probably have many questions that need simple and straightforward answers that you will research and provide. Sometimes the best we can do is to promise that we will look into whatever topic concerns them, and stand by.
Some of us struggle with the needs and concerns of children who communicate only through behavior. Every one of our sons and daughters deserves the same encouragement, information and support as any other child. Many children - including brothers, sisters, and cousins - don't ask questions or express their worries even if they have all the skills to do so.
We are role models for our sons and daughters, and they often take their cues from us. Dealing with challenges using compassion, humor and common sense helps us live more balanced lives and teaches them coping skills that will help them through life whether they outgrow their childhood challenges or carry them forward.
As time passes, established activities and a narrow focus on the diagnosis might not blend in well with family dynamics; there may be new issues during times of transition, and new challenges may arise out of the blue. Staying connected can make a big difference in the choices we make while our children grow.
Besides learning all about the specific diagnosis, moms often take on the responsibility of informing the rest of the family, keeping medical and educational professionals up to date on the latest developments in research and practice, and finding support for everyone in the family who is affected.
If you are busy but want to stay informed about the latest articles on raising a child with special needs, enjoy updates on disability advocacy, disability issues in the news, or other information - it's easy to sign up for our weekly newsletter.
You may want to forward the newsletter when you see an article that might be helpful for another family member, your child's doctor, teacher or therapist, or someone in your local support group.
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Let me know if you have problems subscribing, or have any questions related to children with special needs. I would love to hear from you about your family and experiences. If you would like to recommend the newsletter to others, they can access this article directly at http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art1521.asp
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To read or participate in online discussions with other parents, advocates or concerned professionals, this site has a bulletin board that is open to all issues concerned with raising a child with a disability, chronic health condition, or developmental delays, that can be accessed directly at the BellaOnline Special Needs Forum Bulletin Boards:
Feel free to introduce new topics, respond to messages, or request articles on specific issues or topics. We also play games and often chat about family life and recent events in the world not particularly related to special needs. Many people read the bulletin boards without posting messages. That's ok!
I would love to hear from you, and what you write might be just what other parents who may be searching for information in the middle of the night need to know. For them, I hope that we can remain kind, accepting, and supportive no matter where in our journeys we might be found. As children grow, perspectives change. Remember that we all deserve some peace and joy every day, along with wonderful memories. And someday, we might find ourselves laughing about some of the dramas of the past.
Wishing you all the best,
Editor, Children with Special Needs website at BellaOnline.com