How to minister to the caregivers of those with special needs:
- Provide a meal during a difficult time or just because - I never realized how exhausting caring for a special needs child can be. As I said in my previous post, it can be draining! Many times, after a rough battle with Josh and his anxiety-induced behavior issues, the last thing I want to do is scramble to throw together a last minute dinner. There have also been times where I really should have taken more time to process an event with Josh to help him better understand what the problem was in a given situation, but having to care for the rest of the family caused me to stop short and lose the great teaching moment. It's a hard balance. There have been times when I have been ministered to by dear friends who have provided a meal for various reasons. Each time, even if I feel awkward in even accepting the meal, I am so grateful for their kindness. Not having to prepare just one meal makes my life a little easier. If you know a special needs family, perhaps you should attempt to make a meal for them even this week to be a blessing - just because! Call them up and tell them you will be bringing by a meal on a specific day unless another day would be better. If they are anything like me, they will try to decline, but don't back down. Take the opportunity to tell them that God has laid them on your heart this week, and you want to be a blessing to them in this way.
- Offer to watch/care for the special needs person so that they can get out and run errands or get a much needed sanity break! Warning: If you do this, don't complain about petty behaviors to them afterward making them feel guilty for leaving their child with you in the first place! Accept the challenges that come with the favor and better learn how to pray for these caregivers!
- Offer to do something special with the siblings of a special needs child. Oftentimes, the siblings get unintentionally neglected because of all of the time and energy that goes into caring for a special needs child. Also, sometimes the siblings just feel left out because their special needs sibling gets to do "special & fun" things for special needs kids, and they get left out.
- Offer your services to the caregivers - offer to go pick up groceries, clean the house, do dishes, etc. These will be a true blessing to the caregivers who often don't have time to stay on top of these duties or not have the energy to do them.
- PRAY!!!!!!!!! These caregivers need all of the prayer they can get! Take the time to pray for them on a daily basis that they would have the grace and strength for each day and find ways to care for themselves. Pray that they would not become weary in well-doing and find joy in their service for the Lord.