Tag Archives: special needs children

The Sibling Support Project

The siblings of a special needs child have special needs of their own. The single mom struggles to give time to all of her kids, but extra time is often devoted to her child with special needs, whether the need stems from physical or mental health or educational needs. In addition to the normal rivalry among the children of the family, the kids may feel guilt that they get angry at the extra time devoted to the special needs child or their own lack of patience in dealing with the situation.

It’s important for everyone in the family to recognize that siblings of kids with special needs have opportunities that many other kids don’t have. Because of their special family environment, they learn at an early age how to feel empathy and are able to accept differences in children. They develop kindness and patience as they develop their relationships within the family.

The Sibling Support Project recognizes that families who have a child with special developmental, health or mental health concerns have special, life long concerns. Their mission is to support the siblings of kids with special needs.  With more than 300 Sib-shops around the world, they work to provide support programs for young siblings, adult siblings, the extended family and caregiver of children with special needs.

Based in Seattle, WA, the Sibling Support Project has trained service providers in every state. You can check their website at http://www.siblingsupport.org/ to see if they have a location near you. They will also provide information on how to initiate a Sib-shop in your community as a resource center and support group of other families of kids with special needs.

In a nation with over six million children and adults with special developmental, health or mental health concerns, it’s important for siblings to know that their feelings are not unique. The brothers and sisters of over 6,000,000 people share their feelings of confusion, concern, resentment and even fear. The also can share the experience of advocating the right to have their own lives.

Special Needs: Caring For The Caregiver

Being a care giver is a big responsibility. The single mom knows that as the main care giver to her family, the responsibility of her duties never goes completely away. Moms who have children with special needs have added responsibilities that can increase the financial, physical and emotional toll of being a care giver to the family.

Going to work, doing the family shopping and running errands are not a break from care giving. They are all part of the job. Parents of children without special needs don’t consider it a respite, and neither should you.

Other family members are also affected by the extra time and effort that is often directed to giving care to a special needs child. The additional pressure of making sure that your other kids have enough of your quality time and attention can be an emotion drain causing fatigue and could damage your health.

There are many support groups available to care givers of special needs children, and moms who join the support groups can find other parents who share the same complications in caring for their families as they face. Finding resources that can help the single mom maneuver the special needs in education and healthcare often are a benefit of becoming a member and actively participating in these groups. But, mom, participation in a group may be supportive, but it is not the respite from care giving that your emotional health requires to help reduce the stress in your life.

All moms need time off. While you know that as a good parent you must always be available for your family, parents need a chance to get away and spend a little bit of time just being themselves. A mom with a special needs child deserves this respite as much, if not more, that any other mom.

Don’t be afraid to take care of your own needs. Find a trusted person to occasionally take over the responsibilities of caring for your family. Take the time to pursue your favorite hobby. Plan an outing with a friend. Take time out to take care of your health by finding ways to reduce the stresses that are associated with care giving. Get away from the medical problem and so something just for you.


Special Needs Resources for Single Moms

Single moms know the responsibility of being the main caregiver is a stressful challenge. When the family includes a child with special needs, it’s often hard to find another mom who is struggling with the same challenges.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and that you are not expected to know it all and do it all. You need help and shouldn’t be afraid to seek it.

There are resources available for the single mom struggling to cope with being the caregiver of a child with special needs. National organizations with local resources that may be available in your community, or near your community, can help you find the knowledge, support and respite needed.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, formed the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The NCBDDD works with people of all ages, but one of their defined missions is to help children reach their full potential. Not only does their website offer valuable information on specific disabilities, it also provides resources at a state level.

For more information on the NCBDDD, they can be contacted at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

1600 Clifton Road
MS E-87
Atlanta, GA 30333



TTY: (888) 232-6348
24 Hours/Every Day


The National Dissemination Center website offers a vast network of resources that assist parents in finding the information and support needed to help them care for their kids with special needs. NICHCY also recognizes that the entire family needs additional help when it includes a special needs child and provides links to resources geared at providing that support.

Contact them at:

1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009

Tel: (800) 695-0285
Fax: (202) 884-8441
[email protected]

Child Care Law Center

Sometimes being an advocate for your special needs child isn’t enough and the single mom needs assistance just making sure that her child is benefiting from the laws that are in effect. The Child Care Law Center website offers tools for parents who need legal help to make sure their special needs child is receiving the services they are entitled to. This non profit organization is geared mainly to families and parents, but also assists with the legal aspects of organizations, from community based to the national level.

The address of Child Care Law Center is:

Child Care Law Center
100 McAllister Street, Room 360
San Francisco, California 94102

Tel:: (415) 558-8005
[email protected]