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73 – Challenges Of Organizing Special Needs Children

Organize 365 Podcast
Organize 365 Podcast
73 - Challenges Of Organizing Special Needs Children

When hubby and I were dating, he would listen to Paul Harvey on WLW. I loved Paul’s segment “The Rest of the Story.” It was always all the background information you never heard about a person or news story.

Well, the week I worked with FOX 19 on a home kitchen makeover was an amazing week. In previous posts I showed you some of the products I do recommend to clients when organizing their kitchens. Yesterday, you saw the video clips from TV if you couldn’t watch it LIVE.

And today…here is the rest of the story – organizing special needs children.

I touched Monday on some of the reasons that houses get cluttered. The good, the bad and the ugly…this is a story of all 3.

The good

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. And then 4 more at ONCE! Yep, quadruplets. I don’t care how organized you are — 4 babies at once – oh my!

But Jenny was a teacher and she IS organized! I could tell that as soon as I walked in her door. The kids have schedules and tally marks and memory boxes. Honestly, I looked at Carol and said – whew! This makes me look like a slacker!

Yep – even in her “unorganized house” I could see the organization and it was solid! But one mama and a devoted daddy are no match for 5 kids.

The bad

Disabilities. Four out of five of their kiddos have disabilities. The percentage of parents dealing with kiddos with disabilities is staggering. Maybe you’re one of them. There’s a 50/50 chance you are.organizing-special-needs-children-photo-1


Thanks to the Inclusive Church for these statistics.

So let’s jump right into…

The Ugly

I am going to speak in generalities now. I could quote this family’s story or a number of others, but the feelings are similar.

Specifically I am addressing the disabilities that are mental in nature – ADHD, autism, bipolar, tics, anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, sensory integration dysfunction and the list goes on. These are the “invisible disabilities” that weigh heavily on a family.

#1 No one chooses or causes a child’s disability.

In most cases, a childhood disability comes with a season of parental guilt. This season is often followed by well-meaning family who think they can “cure” the child with some old fashioned discipline.

As the months turn into years, these “invisible disabilities” change the family’s dynamics, their routine, their space and their future.

Society cannot see the “invisible disabilities” which leaves the parent to constantly explain the situation, or avoid society.

#2 Parents of children with “invisible disabilities” are constantly fighting.

They are fighting for their child’s IEP at school.

They are fighting for insurance coverage.

They are fighting for their marriages to stay together.

They are fighting their extended families’ expectations of their grandchildren.

They are fighting for their kids to have friends – scratch that– A friend – just one will do – a friend.

They are fighting for a future. But they have no idea what that future will look like because they do not have any friends who have raised children with needs like their children have.

#3 They are scared.

“Invisible disabilities” are invisible to the stranger on the street but SCREAMING to the parents in the home.

They are scared they won’t have enough, be enough, live long enough to see this child through to self-reliance…or be able to provide for the child’s future, all while struggling to stay afloat in the present.

#4 Eventually – they are depressed.

It’s too much for one person.

It’s too much to constantly have to explain and defend your children when you just want someone to come alongside you and say it will be ok, listen without offering a solution and help where they can.

But people don’t. I used to think it was because they didn’t understand how badly the parents of children with “invisible disabilities” needed the help or an ear – but I think the real reason is that SO many families are dealing with the same “invisible disabilities.”

And, really, do these parents want people to see their children when their “invisible disabilities” are VERY visible at home? Not usually.

#5 So they retreat to their homes and stay there.

It’s too hard to take the kids out anyway – the kids like the routine and comfort of home.

I can picture in my head thousands of moms on Pinterest pining the future they once thought they’d have while their child –

Throws another tantrum

Sleeps on their floor as a grade school child

Refuses to do their homework – again

Bounces off the walls destroying any semblance of the decorating that was once put up with love

All the while thinking – I can make it through one more minute – I can make it through one more minute.

Wow Lisa – where did all that come from? Well, I’m not going to leave you here!

First, if this is YOU. I understand. You are an amazing parent with an amazing gift and BEAUTIFUL children who are a blessing from God. I generally address mothers on this topic, I know full well that there are dads at home trying to cope just as much as there are moms.

I don’t have any answers except for you to trust your MAMA or DADDY gut and do what is best for YOU and your kids.

Second, if this is YOU – don’t forget to treat yourself, too. Put your oxygen mask on first so you can help your kids. For many a season of antidepressants is warranted – take them! For others…

It’s time to take back your home.

Let them tantrum, sleep everywhere and bounce around – start to take back the organization of your home – even if it is JUST ONE space.

For me, I started with the laundry room. I wallpapered it yellow because it felt like sunshine. No one goes in there except me.

Maybe it’s your master closet. You know you can hide in there!

There is a reason I start organization sessions with the laundry room, master closet, kitchen and home office. These are mom’s domain. They usually stay organized because mom is in control of them.

Save the playroom and kids’ bedrooms for last!

It WILL work.

I never knew unorganized and depressed people could learn to organize from a blog – but YOU CAN!! You’re telling me, showing me and I LOVE it!

So what about our kitchen makeover family?

We had to go out to the house to measure, take pictures and meet the family. They were overwhelmed and had a FULL house of clutter. Our team would have been there for days.

When we arrived to shoot the show – almost everything was cleaned up except the kitchen! Now where did that come from?

Life is HEAVY. Heavier than we’d all like to admit. Sometimes a change of perspective, a deadline and TV show are all you need to whip that house in shape!

So how about you? Do you have a family member with “invisible disabilities”? Come join our community and get organized one step at a time.

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