Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rearing Special Needs Kids

For several months we have been interviewing parents with special needs children about the stresses,strains and pressures of life. They are legion.

That is not surprising. As a father and grand father I know first hand how stressful it is to mom and dad to have the emotional, educational and spiritual responsibility to rear, clothe and feed any kid regardless of their special needs. When a child is born with a serious disability the stresses are multiplied many times over.

That is not surprising but this fact may be. Many of these parents are innovative, creative and resilient to the place where our research team calls them "Heroes!" They are heroic not because it is good thing to do but because they are the best experts their kids have.

Yes, there are fine Doctors, Psychologists, Educators and Physical Therapists but they are usually isolated from the children. Mom, Dad and Siblings as well as family members and friends must come up with practical solutions.

Want to know another secret??? The professionals do not know about the solutions or the problems families face. "Why?" you ask. They ask the parents and do not See the parents as important to the tasks performed by the pros.

We call our project, "It takes a whole village" because rearing a special needs child or caring for a special needs adult requires everybody to pitch in. When I taught school I had special needs kids in my classes. I ignorantly did not even think about the difficulty faced by Mom and Dad. Now I think about it a lot.

Jim Donovan, of Donovan Research, and the Director for our project says, "These families have arrived at solutions to many of the problems they face. However, they are often alone and the solutions have not been well distributed." Sweeten Life Systems is trying to not only discover problems and solutions but discover ways to broadcast those solutions to other families.

One more point. When parents face the fact that their child has special needs they often become increasingly interested in church, religion and spirituality. However, few churches are ready for such a challenge. This leaves the parents isolated and longing for a church that can minister to them.

Pray with us about our next steps in the project "It takes a whole village"(R).

See the web for more information.

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