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Respite: Finding Ways to Take Care of Yourself

Children with special needs often react badly to stress; they need us to remain calm and even-tempered even in the face of the most frightening symptoms or the most provocative behavior. A stressed-out, tired-out, emotionally drained parent can't provide that; but how do we manage to recharge our own batteries when it takes so much energy to care for our kids? Here's where you'll find everything from a support group to some stress relief to a good laugh or a dose of needed inspiration.
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Finding a Support Group
What kind of support group is right for you? In-person groups, e-mail lists and message boards all have advantages and disadvantages. Here's help in finding one that suits your personal needs.

Informal Support Groups for Parents of Children With Special Needs
You may not have time to join an actual parent support group, but there are opportunities all around to bond with fellow special-needs parents.

Love Notes for Special Parents
Need inspiration? These artful notes of support and encouragement for parents of children with special needs will give you a boost.

20 Things Not to Worry About Today
You're always going to worry about how your child's doing in school, but just for today, make a conscious decision to give those worries a vacation. The world won't fall apart, and you may find a more productive way to deal.

Give Yourself a Time-Out
Giving yourself a time-out when you're about to lose your temper is a healthy way to release that stress, and models good coping skills for your kids, too.

Take a Day Off
Every parent needs to take a break now and then, and parents of children with special needs more than most. You can't stop being a parent and you may not be able to step out on your job, but here are some things you can take a day off from.

A Special-Needs Parent's Wish List
Family asking what you want for a holiday gift? Give them this list of things that will really make a difference for a parent of children with special needs.

Family Gathering Survival Kit
For parents of children with special needs, family gatherings -- full of doubting relatives, stressful situations, and typically developing kids -- can be a tough way to spend a day. Here are ten items to see you through, or at least give you a laugh to lighten the load.

10 Reasons to Give Thanks for Your Child With Special Needs
Having one of those days when nothing seems to be going right? Check this list for a smile and a little inspiration.

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