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How to Help Special Needs Families

on July 1, 2013

I went to Willow Creek last night for their annual special needs weekend where they embrace families like mine  and raise awareness of disabilities. They told people the following things: It’s OK to be uncomfortable with someone’s disability, but don’t stare and don’t judge. And don’t ignore it. Ask the parents how you can help. Listen. Acknowledge and smile.

It’s really that simple! They did an unbelievable job of showing several families coping with special needs and had a lead pastor tell his story of his son’s diagnosis of down’s syndrome. I identified with all of it, but the fact that they were trying to educate the masses on how to help meant more to me than them “getting” what my family is going through. That’s 2000 families or so that might see a kiddo acting out and not give a dirty look, or see a child in a wheel chair and not look at them like they are a freak, or see a mom struggling and ask how they can help.

Awareness like this means everything!

If you know someone that has a child with special needs, it’s OK to ask questions. We want to talk about it. It’s OK to ask how you can help. We probably won’t accept it, but you just made it easier for us to sleep at night because you showed that you care – that you have compassion. And when you see these families out in the public, acknowledge the struggles they go through every minute of the day and give them a smile to acknowledge your respect for them. We need that encouragement and value it more than you even know.


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