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Special needs grandchildren

Created date

December 21st, 2010

It s always important to establish a rapport with your grandchildren or great grandchildren as, of course, you want to be close to them. But while you may find yourself a little lost as to how to best do this when it comes to a special needs grandchild, I want to tell you that the extra effort this may take will pay off for you, for the child, but especially for the parents. It s not easy taking care of a special needs child. It takes a lot out of the parents, physically and psychologically. And so they need to rely on the child s grandparents as much as possible. Sure, all parents can use some time off from the duties of parenting, and grandparents are usually happy to help out. But the parents of a special needs child really need those breaks.

Going the extra mile

It s harder to care for a special needs child, and harder still if the child is left with someone he or she doesn t really know. So while it may be more challenging to get to know a special needs child, and while there may be setbacks along the way, you should make sure you go the extra mile. Bear in mind that parents never completely forget their child when they re away from them, at least not for very long. But the more confidence they have in the caregiver, the easier it is for them to concentrate on each other rather than getting distracted by thoughts of is my child okay? And with special needs children, this need doesn t evaporate as the child grows up. In fact, it might be even more important as the child grows older and childcare becomes more complicated. Some 30 years ago, I was teaching a class on human sexuality at Brooklyn College for what in those days were called handicapped students. After the semester was over, I told myself I would never teach such a class again. The reason was that it was so wonderful and I learned so much that I wanted to see these students integrated into the regular classes so that everyone could learn from them as much as I did. A life lesson I m sure you ve already learned is that the more you put into anything, the more you get out of it. And so if you have a special needs grandchild, let me urge you to put as much into getting to know this child as possible, and spend as much time with the child as you can, and I guarantee you ll come away with a very satisfying relationship.