If you have a child with special needs, you know better than anybody else that in some ways, it’s just like having any child, but in other ways, there are unique challenges to the experience. The truth is, every parent will face unique challenges in their child-raising journey, whether their child has some special needs or they’re completely neurotypical.
No matter how old your child happens to be or how long you’ve been a parent, there’s never harm in finding new resources and ideas that can help you give your child the best care and life experience possible. From different forms of therapy to organizations that can help you find like-minded individuals and other families you can relate to, there’s no shortage of resources you can look into for you and your children. Whether you have teens or tots, here are some great resources for parents with special needs children.
1. Parent to Parent USA
Parent to Parent is an organization that truly starts with the parents. They work to match up each parent with another parent who has a similar family and life experience in order to share support and build friendships. This is a great organization to look into if you want to build a stronger community around yourself and your family.
2. The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project
The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project may have a vast library of resources on their website, but that’s not all they do. At The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project, they work to provide travel expenses, medical expenses and gifts of medical equipment that isn’t covered by insurance to families of special needs children.
3. National Youth Leadership Network
For those of you who have teens, the National Youth Leadership Network is a great resource to check out. From their workshops to their online resources, they’re all about building community and forming friendships between special needs teens.
4. Council for Exceptional Children
The Council for Exceptional Children specifically aims to focus on the educational needs of special needs children and families. Not only do they advocate for important policy changes and administrative awareness, but they also work directly with educators to ensure that special needs children get the best education possible.
5. Best Buddies
Best Buddies is just what it sounds like — an organization built to help special needs kids of all ages develop meaningful friendships and explore their social lives. If you want to build a network and support system with your child’s peers, Best Buddies is worth looking into.
6. Physical Therapy
When it comes to various forms of therapy, physical therapy is often the first thing on anyone’s mind — and for good reason! While every child is different, most people can benefit from some form of physical therapy or another. Talk with your child’s doctor and see what treatments they propose.
7. Pediatric Aquatic Therapy
Whether your child is already in physical therapy or not, aquatic therapy can be a great extension of that. Pediatric aquatic therapy feels more recreational than clinical, so it’s especially great for children. Plus, the aquatic environment can increase range of motion and make exercises more comfortable.
8. Art Therapy
Art therapy is all about using any form of artistic expression as a therapeutic device. While this can be emotional and thoughtful, it can also help work things like motor skills and other forms of function.
9. Music Therapy
Similar to art therapy, music therapy can be great not just for the emotional and therapeutic elements, but for the sensory elements of using sound in new and creative ways. Even if you’re not the most musical family, music therapy can open up a lot of doors.
10. Social Skills Therapy
Social skills therapy is all about becoming more social with the world around your child. Whether your child struggles with social skills or they’re thriving and want to get even better, social skills therapy can be a great tool to have.
11. Pet Therapy
There’s a common misconception that choosing pet therapy means you need to decide to get a service animal and undertake all of their care. In actuality, there are so many ways to experience the healing benefits of emotional support animals. Many organizations provide free home visits with trained volunteer handlers so you can experience pet therapy in your own home.
12. Dance Therapy
If you liked the idea of music therapy, you may also love the idea of dance therapy. Not only does dance therapy encourage free movement and spatial awareness, but it can also be extremely fun for everyone involved.
Resources for Parents of Special Needs Kids
Every child has their own individual needs, whether they’re special needs kids or not. As a parent, you want to provide your kids with the best emotional, social and educational experience possible, and there are so many organizations, resources and forms of care that can help you achieve that.