How can I help others who have a special needs child?
Q: If a friend has child with a disability, especially autism, what is the kindest or most helpful thing anyone can do for them?
A: Thank you for this great question! In order to answer this one, I went straight to the pros – the moms of children with special needs. Their insights about what has been helpful and what others have done for them is great and will help you to be a supportive friend to a parent of a child with special needs.
Here are some of the responses I gained:
- Listen. Just listen without judging and fixing
- Offer to baby sit her/his child so that she/he can have some quiet and alone time.
- Offer to baby sit his/her child so that she/he and her/his spouse can have some 'couple time'
- Show a genuine interest in your friend's child
- Remind your friend that there is a beautiful, amazing, perfect and lovable child in there
- Invite a fellow mom to a girl's night; invite a fellow dad to a boy's night
- Encourage your friend to find a support group
- Encourage your friend to find a good therapist
- Encourage your friend to be patient. Very., very patient
- Suggest that your friend research and advocate for his/her child
- Offer to help out with other children in his/her home
- Welcome your friend and his/her child into your home even though the child may make a mess
- Support your friend to support her/himself
- Remind your friend to trust his/her instincts
Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Matheis