Navigating the Overwhelming Role of Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Today, I want to share with you my personal experience as a parent of a child with special needs. I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed and in need of someone who can truly understand what you are going through. It can be difficult to manage your emotions and maintain your composure in the face of your child's heightened nervous system. I have often found myself in this situation, feeling like my cup is nearly empty and desperately needing empathy and compassion.

During these times, I have learned the importance of showing myself the same love and acceptance that I seek from others. One technique that has helped me is using a deck of GROK "Needs/Values" cards. I sorted the cards into two piles, one with needs/values that resonated with me and another with those that didn't. Out of 54 cards, 33 resonated with me, and I grouped them under the seven basic human needs.

I focused on the need for connection, which had the largest cluster of cards, and counted 16 cards, including connection, compassion, empathy, trust, and understanding. As I reviewed these cards, I felt a sense of relief and relaxation. I also noticed that the need for peace and harmony was important to me, and I counted seven cards under this need. Another smaller cluster included needs/values related to self-expression, meaning, and purpose, and mourning.

I also realized that safety and choice were crucial needs/values for me. When I feel threatened or unsafe, my ability to make conscious choices is inhibited, and I may perceive myself as a victim. By using these cards to identify my core needs/values, I learned how to remain present and offer myself and others unconditional love and presence, even in the face of overwhelming emotions.

I believe that having empathy support is essential for parents of children with special needs, particularly when dealing with anger or fear. With repeated experiences of being accompanied and supported, you may be able to remain present in challenging environments and manage your emotions more effectively. The practice of showing yourself compassion and making conscious choices can help you stay clear and offer your child the love and support they need.


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