Being a parent with a child with special needs is often daunting and tiring. So much new information to take on, different ideas to digest, appointments to attend, and different people to meet. Your life changes. Parents often feel like they aren’t doing enough as they are wanting to help their child as much as they can. There is also the grief and overwhelm around having a child with special needs.
There are lots of resources to support parents and caregivers’ health and wellbeing to minimise burnout.
Burnout can manifest as:
- Losing interest in one’s normal daily routines and activities
- Inability to sleep or just wanting to sleep
- Constant worrying and crying
- Losing or gaining weight
- Losing interest in food
- Engaging in emotional overeating
- Having very little time or no time for oneself
- Not having energy to catch up or socialise with others
- Not being able to think clearly
- Getting sick more often than usual
When meeting families, and on the families’ journeys with their children, we often ask the parents first if they are OK and if they need anything to support their regulation and energy.
A great analogy for this is the concept of an oxygen mask on a plane, where you put on a mask yourself before your child so you are able to assist them.