The Self-Care Struggle for Special Needs Parents

by Meggin


It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day stress of work, kids, house duties, errands, etc. It’s easy to forget about yourself, the parent. Add on to that list the responsibility of caring for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), and you have the perfect storm for exhaustion. It’s overwhelming when you think about all the insurance phone calls, the therapy appointments, activities that are needed for sensory regulation at home, fighting through homework, fighting to get your friends and your child’s teachers to understand, all the while trying to maintain the high demands of parenting to begin with. It’s exhausting.

I recently encountered some health issues of my own. Nothing major, but a harsh reminder to myself that I have to make myself slow down, or my body will force me to. I’m not the only parent of an SPD child out there in the same boat. I talk to many SPD parents in our area on a regular basis. Some are new to the arena and some not so much. The unanimous consensus is that we’re tired. Often our phone conversations will start after the kids go to bed because that’s the only quiet time that we have. We have so much to talk about that it’s midnight before we know it. As crazy as that sounds, we so need the interaction with another parent who understands it all, and often times can just listen. We fall into bed everyday exhausted. Just when we think we can catch a few hours of sleep, our kids (thanks to SPD causing disrupted sleep patterns), come crawling into bed with us or are just ready to go for the day. Then it’s time once again to put our best feet forward and start it all over again the next day.

First, I want to challenge you with a question. What do you do to take care of yourself?

What activity is solely for your benefit, for your personal wellness? I’m not talking about your yearly physical at the doctor or those ten minutes you get in the car line at school while waiting for dismissal. I’m talking about soul food, meditation, time with your friends, time alone, date night with your spouse, quiet time to read a book, or do a hobby you love such as painting. Maybe you’re so wrapped up in day to day life you don’t even remember what these things are or what it was like to have time to do them.

Next comes the big challenge...

I want you to sit down for five minutes and make a list of those things that you miss and want to do. Find time to do one of them every week. Maybe you can only carve out fifteen minutes to start. Find the time. Do it with no distractions. My biggest pet peeve is when people say, “I don’t have time”. The answer I have to that is… you need help with prioritizing! You are the priority to your child. He or she needs you and they need you to be well, both physically and mentally. You can’t help others if you’re not in good shape yourself, in all departments.

So please, take the time. Just do it. I promise it will be the best gift you can give yourself. You deserve every minute of it because you my friend, are a superhero.

If you are looking for SPD treatment for yourself or your child fill out a child or adult intake form now to be treated at STAR Institute Treatment Center or search our Treatment Directory to find services in your area.

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Meggin profile picture

Meggin has recently achieved a long term goal of founding a non-profit organization, Sensational Hope (, which provides community awareness about SPD in the Kansas City Metro Area. It connects families as well as assists children with SPD in the purchase of needed therapy equipment. Meggin resides in the Kansas City area with her husband of 15 years, Erich, her two sons, Bryce and Jackson, her two furry children (dogs) Chance and Sadie, two Rabbits (Max and Bailey), and last but not least, 10 fish.  Meggin is honored to blog for the STAR Institute and is looking forward to connecting with other SPD families.