Whilst some may shun the New Years resolutions posts that are likely to flood our social media feeds in the next coming days, I happen to think that they might possibly do some good.
Always eager to raise awareness of special needs, I've taken the opportunity to compile a list of five (I could easily have done more) resolutions, or goals even that could possibly help a family raising a child with special needs.
1. Do some research. This one is easy. Google 'special needs' and you'll be faced with a mountain of information. If you haven't chosen a condition in particular, click on any link you find. It might bring you to a blog, or a site that might give you information from a perspective on a condition that you've never thought of. Even if you are familiar with special needs, I can guarantee there's a condition or disability that you do not know about. Find it. Find out how it affects an individual and the family who support them. As simple as it seems, 30 minutes out of your time researching a special need or disability might save a family unnecessary judgement or weird stares (which we HATE).
2. Donate to a charity. This could be in the form of a regular donation or a simple one off small, tiny payment. The vast majority of advice and support that families receive come from a charity of some kind. Healthcare systems worldwide are simply not equipped to deal with the amount of families that need them. Raising a child with special needs is emotionally and financially taxing and whilst you might not get a direct thank you from a family benefitting from your donation, rest assured it will be well received and appreciated.
3. Take part. Get involved in a run or walk raising awareness for a charity. If you have health or weight loss goals, this could be a great incentive to get fit or help you along the way, whilst fundraising for a great cause.
4. Volunteer your time. Volunteering your time with a special needs related charity might be a great way to add skills and experience to your CV, and might even assist with a career change if that's your goal. From administrative work to befriending or outreach, there's an abundance of charities that would be appreciative of the skills that you already have.
5. Donate unwanted items. New year often initiates clear outs or decluttering. Many charity shops or outrech programmes might be able to put your unwanted items to good use.