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Parents Of Children With Special Needs: 3 Tips To Care For Your Emotional and Mental Wellness

This is a guest post from Zencare, a website that helps people find their ideal talk therapist.

If you’re the parent of a child who has special needs, you likely have a lot on your plate. And amid all the non-stop appointments, exercises, and activity, your own needs may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

“Self-care is typically the first thing to go for parents of children with special needs,” says Christine Grounds, LCSW, a therapist in New York City who works with parents of kids with special needs. “And this only exacerbates stressful situations.”

Taking a few moments to check in and assess your mental health can be beneficial for helping you navigate parenting in any situation! Here are three ways you can do so.

1. Join a support group

Connecting with others in the relaxed, empowering setting of a support group can be a game-changer if you’ve felt isolated or alone as a parent. Two immediate takeaways from joining one include:

Education and resources: Whether you’re looking for health insurance information or need a good after-school tutor, you can connect with others with valuable insight that can benefit your family.

A chance to listen, and be understood: Others in attendance have similar experiences, allowing you to be fully open and vulnerable about any stressors, concerns, and anxieties you may have experienced.  

Not sure where to start? Try going through your child’s school, or ask your therapist (if you have one) if they know of any local group resources. You can also connect with a peer-based organization like Parent to Parent, which will match you with parents who’ve gone through similar family-life experiences.

2. Try a mindfulness-based exercise suitable for everyday life

When you’re pressed for time, being able to squeeze in a quick, rejuvenating mental exercise – such as the following mindfulness-based exercises – holds the potential to sharpen your focus and keep you grounded for whatever the day holds:

  • Self-compassion meditation.  A 2018 study found a relation between higher levels of self-compassion and lower levels of stress in depression for parents of adult children with developmental disabilities. Actively practice – or even memorize! – the basics of a 5-minute self-compassion exercise to utilize in moments of extreme stress.
  • Mindfulness incorporation into chores. Basic activities that are already part of your daily routine – such as washing dishes, doing laundry, and eating – can all be practiced mindfully. In one study, participants who washed dishes mindfully lowered nervousness levels by 27% (and upped their feelings of inspiration by 25%). [2].

3. Consider seeing a therapist  

Finding a therapist can help you feel supported, and provides a private space for you to voice feelings that you might not feel able to say to anyone else. This, in and of itself, can be invaluable!

To start your search, identify two to three therapists who have experience working with parents of children with special needs. Schedule initial calls, and/or make intake appointments with each, to assess who feels like the right fit.

Above all else, you must feel relaxed – and able to open up! “Someone can have the most impressive credentials in the world,” warns Grounds, “but if you do not feel comfortable with them, it will impede your progress.”

Small acts of self-care can work wonders in alleviating the impact of everyday stressors. As your plate gets fuller and fuller, taking a pause to replenish your resources may keep you grounded – and ready to take on each day as it comes.


This is a guest post from Zencare, a website that helps people find their ideal talk therapist. Visit to browse their vetted network of top therapists – using criteria like insurance, sliding scale, location, and specialties. You can also directly book a free initial call to find the right fit!


S'Well Public Relations Highlights Health and Wellness Experts


EXPERTISE: Entrepreneur, Inventor, Weighted Blanket, Pressure Therapy, Weighted Blanket Benefits to Autism and PTSD, Sleep, Anxiety, Stress Economy. 

Keith Zivalich, Inventor and creator of the Magic Weighted Blanket designed the very first weighted blanket in 1998 after his daughter rested her beanie baby on his shoulder during a road trip. The sensation was so calming and relaxing, he created a blanket that produced the same effect and began the trend of using Deep Pressure Therapy all over the body to relieve anxiety and insomnia. He is also the inventor of a new meditation chair called the Zero Gravity Zen Bag.

Washing Your Weighted Blanket Should NOT Be That Stressful!

Having invented the weighted blanket over 21 years ago, we are amazed, and thrilled, at how they have grown in popularity over the past three years. Most of this growth is coming from weighted blankets that are made in China and come with some rather peculiar washing instructions. 

According to multiple manufacturers, in order to wash their weighted blankets, you must first unzip the outer cover.  Then you must untie the inner liner from the duvet.  At this point, you can put the removable duvet in the washer (please see our earlier blog about the perils of zippers). However, if you would like to wash the heavy inner-liner, which can weigh up to 25 pounds, those manufacturers advise you to hand wash only.  One manufacturer suggests you hand wash their blanket in a bath tub and then carry a water-logged weighted blanket out to be line dried.  Imagine hand washing a 20 or 25 pound inner liner in the bath tub and then carrying it out to be line dried.  A weighted blanket should help reduce stress, not cause it.

We designed our blankets to help relieve anxiety with easy care maintenance.  Our blankets are all machine washable and machine dryable.  There is no duvet to remove.  No zipper to get jammed.  No heavy inner-liner to untie and to hand wash.  No struggle to re-assemble. Just toss your Magic Blanket into the washer and dryer, take it out and start using it for stress-free calming and comfort.



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