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Think Before You Speak

9 Things Never to Say to a Parent of a Special Needs Child

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  • 6. "We're only given what we can handle." What you may intend as a compliment can come across as a meaningless platitude. Plus, "it implies that you're supposed to be able to handle it," says Ehlert. "But some days you can't handle it. Some days you feel like you can't go on any longer." Saying something like this may even make your friend feel like she can't discuss her worries and feelings with you because she's "supposed" to be balancing everything well. Again, it's better to lend an ear—or give her a break. An offer to help your friend find a support group for parents of special needs children can be helpful as well, Ehlert says, so long as your pal seems receptive to the idea.

    7. "Have you tried..." Though you may be trying to help or show your friend you've taken an interest in the subject, suggesting treatments or medications can offend. "I don't care what you've read in a magazine or what your cousin's hairdresser told you. Unless you're living in my house, observing my child 24 hours a day, consulting the specialists we consult, doing the research we've been forced to do, you have no idea what you're talking about," says Terri Mauro, About.com guide to Children with Special Needs and mother of two kids with special needs. Tada suggests saying something like, "Any disability is a scary thing, but I want to work alongside you to find the best resources available."

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Think Before You Speak
9 Things Never to Say to a Parent of a Special Needs Child
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