When you do a Google search for ‘self-care tips for special needs parents’, you will find plenty of resources that list just that – self-care tips for special needs parents. And they all regurgitate the same stuff such as making time for yourself by taking advantage of respite services, lean on support, eating well, meditating, exercising, and so on.
Those are all fine and good for special needs parents who are not nearing that dreadful burnout stage. And of course, while struggling with depression that is related to special needs parenting, the one tip you will see everywhere is get therapy and go on medication if needed.
Again, that is all fine and good if you are struggling yet at the same time, you feel you can manage it. You are getting the support you need and you feel that you can manage your overflowing plate because even though you are stressed out, your child is progressing. Then those self-care tips are all fine and good until they no longer are.
When are these self-care tips for special needs parents no longer useful? When burnout has taken over because your disabled child has complex or profound special needs to the point that nothing is helping the situation at all. Respite here and there no longer serves its purpose. You have lost yourself and you feel as if you are at the point of no return.
Unfortunately, if things don’t change, you are right. You are at the point of no return because if things stay as they are, they will only worsen. That is the last thing you want. And this has gotten past the point of self-care tips for special needs parents making any type of impact.
And that only leaves you with one self-care option that will work which is extreme. That is by transitioning your disabled child away from home. If you feel you can handle your child’s presence, and if you have the money, you can always hire full-time help to care for your child while you really do take the time and energy to care for yourself and your other children.
However, let’s face facts. Your disabled child’s presence even if you are not the one who is caring for him or her will still stress you out. Your child will sense that as well and act out even more. Most disabled kids, even those who are on the severe end can learn something if they are placed in a 24/7 therapeutic environment. Even if it is developing the ability to do sign language and to mop floors. They also will be happier in a completely structured setting with 24/7 therapy.
With that said, your child staying at home because you feel pressured by society to allow that to happen will only worsen things for you, your disabled child, your other kids if you have any, and your marriage or relationship if that is applicable.
This means the only self-care tip that will help special needs parents who feel they will never recover is having the child sent to a therapeutic setting. Not respite services here and there. A permanent movement, the big transition. This is the only option for anyone in this situation to move forward and to recover.