Caring for a child with additional needs brings joys and sometimes challenges. Parents and carers can carry a lot of stress and worry, and often put their own needs at the bottom of the pile.
It is better recognised now that caring for loved ones is an important role and it can be hard at times. The whole family benefit when you look after yourself.
The reasons for your child’s additional needs will vary. How it affects you and your family will vary, and may change over time.
Being advised to look after yourself may feel unrealistic. Sometimes you might be able to manage some time out to recharge with the support of friends and family. Other times you might find just a few moments to breathe deeply.
You don’t need to be perfect and you won’t always get things right. Parenting is hard for everyone and you have extra challenges to cope with.
Take Time Out When You Can
Take any moments you can to look out for yourself;
If family and friends are not able to help, or it is not enough - speak up. Talk to the team who support your child’s health / education and tell them how you are feeling. Ask them to look into support for you.
You can call Just One Number to talk to a health professional about any concerns at any time. There is lots of information about the health and development of children on Just One Norfolk for all parents. You will also find some extra resources for parents of children and young people with additional needs.
We also work closely with other providers. The Norfolk Local Offer is a directory of all services available in Norfolk for children and young people from 0-25 years with special educational needs and / or disability.
It is well understood that caring for a child with additional needs is hard. Ask for help when you are struggling rather than carrying on and becoming physically and / or mentally unwell.
Your relationship with your children, partner and friends will all benefit from self care – so don’t let it be an optional extra.
This online course is for parents with a child with additional needs. It is for parents, relatives and friends of children who may have a physical or learning disability or who may have autistic traits. This short course will help you learn about:
Sign up for FREE with access code: JON70
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
For adults Qwell provides free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults in Norfolk and Waveney from a professional team of qualified counsellors.
For 11–25 year olds Kooth is a free, confidential and safe way to receive online counselling, advice and emotional well-being support.
You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below.