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Caring for Yourself

As the parent of a child with a neurodevelopmental disorder, you serve as your child’s primary caregiver all day, everyday. With all of the added responsibilities that come with caring for a child with special needs, it is inevitable that at times you will feel frustrated, stressed, and exhausted.

In order to provide your child with the best possible care, you must first take care of yourself. Experts recommend that you make time for yourself each day in order to keep from feeling worn out. Exercising, gardening, and talking with friends will help to clear your mind. Or, if you prefer, you can spend your time watching TV, meditating, or napping. Even as little as five to ten minutes spent doing something that you enjoy will help you feel refreshed and ready to take on your daily challenges.

Help and Support

Many parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders go through times when they are angry, sad, or anxious about their child. Some blame themselves for their child’s condition. These feelings are normal.

It is important to share your emotions with friends and family members. There are numerous support groups—both online and in person—that will connect you with parents who are experiencing the same challenges as you. If you find yourself so overwhelmed that you are unable to function or care for your child, consider seeking support from a trained healthcare professional. Remember, you do not have to go through this alone.

This information is provided in part by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and mass.gov.

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