Parenting is hard.

Parenting a child with special needs is doubly as challenging since we aren’t always emotionally equipped to deal with the added difficulties.

At any given moment, parents of a child with special needs may have to deal with:

  • meltdowns
  • aggressive behavior (toward himself and toward others)
  • sleep deprivation (in the form of difficulty falling asleep, night wakings and early risings)
  • always being “on” (even when away from the child, the mind never rests)
  • transporting and other physically demanding work
  • meetings, medical and therapeutic appointments
  • administering medication
  • managing respite services
  • illnesses and/or frequent hospitalizations
  • finding new solutions to both old and new medical issues
  • homeschooling a child with learning difficulties, physical disabilities, language/ speech delays, cognitive delays, or social difficulties

It’s exhausting.

And, consuming.

The disappointments

For me, the difficulties rest in dealing with the disappointments:

  • after spending the evening adapting an activity, my son has a complete meltdown and we have to stop “school” entirely that day
  • after weeks of working on academic skills, there doesn’t appear to be any new skill acquired
  • after months of working on a physical skill, the physiotherapist doesn’t acknowledge the progress made
  • at a birthday party, the other children are dancing and playing but my little guy would rather open and shut doors
  • after planning a family outing, he starts with self-injurious behaviors in public, cutting our adventure short within the first hour

This isn’t about carrying burdens.

It’s about reality.

It’s about the difficulties, the emotional pain and the let-downs.

It’s also about feeling ashamed about the disappointments we feel toward our child’s progress and in our parenting.

Work past the disappointments:

Before calling more therapists, more doctors, more specialists …

Before reaching for new remedies, reading the updated research, looking for more answers …

Get still.

Then, pray.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Psalm 56:8


Pray that your child will rest peacefully tonight.

Pray that it will be a full-night’s sleep and that while he sleeps his brain and body will heal.

Pray that tomorrow will bring solutions you won’t have to work so hard to find.

Pray that tomorrow will be easier.

Pray that if you do meet difficulties, you will be carried.

Pray to be carried, regardless.

Spill your fears, worries and anxieties into the night and know that God will scoop them up and ease your sorrows before daybreak.

When the sun rises, breathe in the new day. Look and listen for the answers to your prayer because they will be there – even if they don’t look like what you originally expect.

I have given rest to the weary and
joy to the sorrowing.
Jeremiah 31:25

How do you get past disappointments?

About Gabriella Volpe

Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities. She helps parents find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. You can find her at

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