What You SHOULD say to a Special Needs Family

To follow up on last week’s post of what NOT to say to a Special Needs Family, I polled some folks to find out what you SHOULD say. You know, stuff that would be nice to hear? And this is what my special friends told me:

  • What can I do to help?
  • If you don’t know what to say, say nothing at all or say, “I don’t know what to say.”
  • Let me know if I can help.
  • Thanks for explaining it to me, it will help me understand.
  • I’m here for you.
  • I’m here to listen when you need it.
  • I know this is difficult for you.
  • You’re doing the best you can
  • You’re doing a great job.
  • I’m thinking of you/ I’m praying for you.
  • The heck with what other people think.
  • Sometimes saying nothing is fine, a simple card, a dinner brought over, an offer for coffee or to take the kids is great!
  • I can’t relate.
  • I don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes but I understand it’s difficult.
  • A hug would be great.

Shockingly (or perhaps not) most people just wanted an offer of help. You don’t even need to do anything, just OFFER. After all, to raise a child with special needs takes TONS of people. Therapists, neighbors, friends, relatives…all are equally important. All have potential to change that child’s life. All of them can help, even if it’s a teeny-tiny thing, like remembering NOT to wrap his gifts and instead place it in a gift bag. Remembering the lights and sound need to be turned down or making sure you have something he can eat, due to dietary restrictions. A small action or a kind word go a LONG WAY. I just need a smile and an ear once in a while. And that simple action is HUGE to us.

It tells us you love us and you care.

How about you? What would YOU like to hear?

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