Asking for help can be surprisingly hard for a special needs parent.  

For many of us by asking for help we feel we are admitting weakness or inadequacy in not being able to handle everything on our own.  

Yet, the strongest of people will inevitably need a helping hand here or there.  

By asking someone to “Please take my hand.”  

We are also setting a good example for our children – many of whom will be dependent upon needing some form of help throughout their entire lives.  So how does one go about asking someone for a helping hand?  Here are some easy steps to help get you started: 

Swallow Your Pride This is the first and likely hardest hurdle to overcome. Recognize that everyone at some point or another in his or her life needs help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. In fact in many cases people are waiting on an initiation to help you so they don’t feel they are overstepping their boundaries and volunteering when they aren’t sure if you’d reject or welcome the help. Make a sign and post it to your chest if need be – encourage others to help whenever possible.  We do enough in a single day, and we all could use a little relief and helping hand.   People are more likely to view you even stronger than you ever imagined when you are able to openly ask for help. It will only increase their opinion of how brave and full of courage you are because you give them an opportunity to participate in your life in ways they may not be able to understand otherwise. 

Be an Effective Listener When we ask for help of any kind we have to be open to hearing another person’s perspective. Sometimes that will come with welcomed advice – a verbal instruction on how to get around an obstacle – whether that be installing proper tie-downs for your disabled vehicle or asking someone to talk you through changing a flat tire so you can do it on your own the next time or listening to how someone can help whether they are comfortable in carrying your groceries to your car, but not pushing your child’s wheelchair.  

The Importance of Thank You  Saying thank you is an important part of asking for help. Everyone’s time and efforts are precious moments and spoken gratitude demonstrates that you recognize that they genuinely cared enough about you and your child to help. Your helper will likely greatly appreciate it and will be more likely to help again in the future.  

Remember to Repeat  Asking for help can be hard, even harder to keep it up. Remember if you can ask for help once you can ask for help again.   Each time you’ll find that it gets easier and easier.  And you might even get different help from different people. Maybe you have a neighbor that can help you shovel snow if you tell them you need help getting your child’s wheelchair into a car and out of the driveway, or a long-time friend that is willing to pick up and drop off a gallon of milk so you can puree your child’s meal because you can’t get out in between therapies to do it.  You just never know what kind of help you’ll need from an entire team of people.  

The important thing to remember is even superheroes have sidekicks. 

Everyone needs help – even special needs parents who feel they can do it all. 

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