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Self Care and Stress Management

"It's easy to be consumed with the needs of your child. Nurture other parts of your life whenever possible. Call a sitter and go on a date with your spouse; spend one-on-one time with your other children. My older son was thrilled when I spent an entire day with him, riding the subway to the end of the line – his request. He rarely has me all to himself and we had a wonderful time. Taking time for yourself restores you."

- Tina Calabro, writer who specializes in disability issues; parent of special needs child

"Let others help care for your child. This is hard, because you'll be fearful of errors. You have to trust others and accept that no one will do it as well as you. But if they are "good enough" then let them help so that you can step back and get a break. You can't continue to do a good job if you've been up all night, every night, and are chronically exhausted."

- Jennifer Benger, Psy.D., Director of Psychology, Children's Institute; parent of special needs child

"Be really nice to yourself. Don't feel bad for wanting a break; it's healthy. If you find that the usual support systems, like grandparents, can't help, then you and your spouse can at least give each other a night off. Get involved with a service organization in order to meet other families, and then you can relieve each other now and then."

- Paul Polinko, MSW, Clinical Social Worker, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Resources for Parents of Children with Special Needs Alliance for Infants and Toddlers:

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