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Parenting a child with special needs: Considerations to take during a family law case

If you are the parent of a child with special needs then you know the challenges and opportunities that are presented to a family in your situation. Whatever the special needs may be, physical or mental, your child will be loved and cared for just as much as any other child with some slight variations to account for his or her disabilities.

It may be that extra attention needs to be paid to his or her school work, or you may need to spend more time to get him or her ready in the mornings, but these are relatively small efforts to make in the grand scheme of life.

Having a child with special needs also presents an opportunity for you and your family to sacrifice your own “wants” and to instead focus on the “needs” of your child. We all would like to get a little extra sleep, or to be able to go out for the night on occasion, but if your child needs additional care or attention the reward for spending the time with him or her is greater than a nice meal or half an hour’s worth of shut-eye.

Not knowing the future makes parenting a child with special needs similar to but also different than raising a child without special needs. While none of us can see into the future, we can assume that the path of a non-special needs child will follow along a path similar to the ones that we all took. School, career, family, etc. is a tried and true method of succeeding in our country.

For special needs children, this path isn’t nearly as straight and may not be possible. Working with educators, doctors, and other professionals means that more attention will likely be paid to your special needs child’s life course.

Be aware of your emotions and how you expose them to your special needs to child

Being a parent is emotional in and of itself. If you are not emotionally invested in your child and their well being then I don’t know how you would parent at all. Helping your child establish a strong sense of self-worth in order to succeed in life can be difficult in even the best circumstances. It is your job as a parent of a special needs child to establish a balance between accounting for the disabilities of your child while allowing him or her to flourish in whatever setting he or she finds themselves.

Feeling sorry for your special needs child is probably not a strong method to parent the child. If your instinct is to constantly feel bad for your child this may lead to you preparing the “path” for your child rather than your child for the path. What I mean by this is that I’ve seen parents, good-natured and caring parents, attempt to micro-manage every aspect of their child’s life.

School, friends, family, no matter what their child was involved in the world would need to be tailored to their child. While I understand the motivation I would argue that preparing your child for the path is a more efficient and effective manner of parenting.

Prepare your child for experiencing the “real world” in a way that is appropriate for him or her based on their specific special need(s). Making sure that he or she is aware that you understand the struggles that they face on a daily basis, but showing him or her that there are ways to overcome their disabilities and succeed in spite of them can be empowering and liberating for a child with special needs.

Sometimes as a parent you need to remind yourself as well as no matter what you as a family are facing, there are people in your community that can relate to you and your special needs child. Why not become as involved as possible with support groups, associations and charities that assist children with the same special needs as your child? Fostering a sense of giving back in your child can allow him or her to understand that is important for all of us to give of ourselves and our time no matter what circumstances we may be facing personally.

Medical care for special needs children is essential in many cases

Depending on the special need of your child, he or she may require fairly consistent medical treatment and care. This can mean a lot of different things for a family, specifically that the costs associated with such care can eat away at a family budget very quickly. One of the many important discussions that we as a nation are having right now concerns health insurance and access to care for American families. No matter where you fall on the spectrum of ideas associated with this subject, I think we can all agree that allowing the most vulnerable among us access to quality services is extremely important.

This need for specialized health care can be made even more difficult to achieve for families who are facing divorce. Taking away a parent’s income and replacing it with child support only can cost a child dearly if their special needs are not accounted for. Tomorrow’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC will discuss considerations to make if your child with special needs does require medical attention that is over and above a non-special needs child.

Questions about parenting a special needs child during a divorce or child custody case? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today

The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC stand ready to assist you and your family with whatever family law issue you are currently encountering. Our office has represented clients with special needs children on many occasions and are happy to discuss just how we can help you to manage your case in this type of situation. A free of charge consultation with one of our licensed family law attorneys is only a phone call away.


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  1. Divorce and Special Needs Children in Texas Revisited
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.


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