Helping a parent deal with their special needs child

Pastor Jimmy Bartz offers suggestions for those seeking to support a friend who has a special needs child
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Helping a parent deal with their special needs child

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One of the toughest things that I've found personally as a parent of a special needs child is when people give advice. Oftentimes, the parent with the special needs child is the one who's on the ground, day to day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and is most tuned into the disability that his or her child is expressing. So the advice that I would give folks who are trying to soothe, comfort, heal, engage parents with special needs children is just to be a listener. Be a calming, compassionate, empathetic presence. So some just basic do's and don'ts about engaging parents with special needs children is ask all the questions you want. Parents with special needs kids love to be asked about their children. Don't - parents know what's going on in the lives of their kids and know what's going on in the research and information around their child's disabilities. Don't be the first one to forward that latest article from whatever publication about the condition that their child is experiencing. I can promise you, they have that information. You want to be a listener, not someone who is trying to give advice.

Pastor Jimmy Bartz offers suggestions for those seeking to support a friend who has a special needs child

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Jimmy Bartz

Priest

Jimmy is the founder and convener of Thad’s—a spiritual community meeting on Sunday mornings in The Writer’s Bootcamp in Santa Monica. An ordained Episcopal priest, Jimmy has spent most of his professional life leading communities in the work of making a love-spreading difference in the world that surrounds them.

His recent work includes studying the relationship between the outdoors and positive, psycho-spiritual health. When not in the office, he can be found in the ocean or in the mountains, usually with his wife, Cindy, or his two children, Jas and Jade.

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