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What we often see from parents of children with development disability is just the tip of an iceberg. Behind the strongly put smiles, there is constant watching, relentless following, and the kids' need for guidance — even for the most basic of things — never seems to end.
In fact, one mom shares that it felt exactly like drowning. To care for a child with special needs, indeed, require special strength from their parents and these are the realities that these parents face, as told by Jamie Ingledue in Huffington Post.
Parents of a special needs child are constantly on their edges. They need to be on the lookout a hundredfold, anticipating the possibilities that their children might have their next breakdown in a matter of seconds.
They need to set the perfect routine, or else if this gets disrupted, they need to prepare how to fix their kid's breakdown — without breaking down themselves. These parents are exhausted always, in all ways, for giving everything they have and oftentimes, there aren't anything left to their spouse, not even to themselves.
Ingledue adds they are tired of being the family's rock. They are expected to be the strong person even if they are at their lowest. They are expected to extend their patience — not even entitled to get angry — even if they are at their wits ends.
It's also inevitable to dream about a normal life or about having normal kids. Sometimes, it gets to a point when they even think about not having children at all, because it has been an overwhelming morning and yet, they still have to survive at least 16 hours to get through the day.
"But when they lash out and act horribly when they are the most unlovable, that's when they need love the most," Ingledue says. "Again and again we say, I can take it. You can't carry these emotions right now, so I'll carry them for you."
Despite it all, in the end, no one can blame the children for what they do or feel. If mentally and behaviorally sound parents find it hard to hold it together, it must be harder for these young people to cope even more.
Ingledue ends her essay saying that parents of children with special needs are not alone. Together, they can find each other and stay above the water.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 15 percent of United States children ages three to 17 suffer from a developmental disability. These disabilities affect a child's day-to-day life and can last a lifetime.