Parents of Special Needs Children Are Special, Too by Don Sinkov{4:00 minutes to read} Recently, a client came in requesting my help in putting together a parenting plan. I asked if she wanted to get divorced, and she said no. She explained, “We’re not up for that yet, but we do need some kind of parenting plan because what we’re doing now is not working.”

I asked her to tell me a little bit about what’s going on, and about her husband and her child. She said her husband is somewhat involved but lives a distance away and mainly sees the child on the weekend.

I said, “What about during the week? Tell me something about the child and what the child’s schedule is like.”

She said, “Well, my daughter is a special needs child. She has autism, and sensory integration problems, as well as some health problems. I’ve really given up pretty much everything to devote myself to raising her.

I asked her what she had given up, and she said:

The child goes to school and gets special services in school, which I had to fight for almost 2 years to get, and now the child is getting the services that she needs. But,” she said, “I work full time and since, during the week, the child is always with me, I have to have childcare before school and after school. When I get home from work, it’s taking care of the child and doing regular parental duties, but always watching her because I can’t leave her alone in any room at any time.

I replied, “That’s really challenging. Do you mind me asking what your personal life is like?”

And she said, “I have no personal life. I don’t have any time between working and taking care of my child. I don’t have any time to go out. I don’t like leaving the child with a babysitter, although the babysitter is very good. I want to make sure the child is okay, and that’s on my mind pretty much all the time. And then when my husband spends time with the child, I’m worrying if he’s really taking care of everything and making sure the child is safe.

I then asked, “How is your relationship with your husband? Do you think you might reconcile or live together?”

She said, “No. We haven’t lived together in years.

I said, “What about dating?”

She answered, “Well, first, I’m still married, but secondly, nobody wants to go out with me because once they find out I have a special needs child, they don’t want to have that responsibility or have that child taking up all my time, leaving no time for them.

This is an example of how having a special needs child can change your life. Some people just step up to the plate and put aside everything. They put their careers and lives on hold while they raise the child and make sure the child’s needs are met.

So hats off to you folks. You’ve been presented with an incredible challenge and you’re putting forth the effort that’s needed to make sure that your child is taken care of.

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: