The 9-L model illustrated in "Blended and Special" explores the dynamics of stepfamilies caring for children with special needs and disabilities and presents the information in digestible nuggets ready for consumption by quintessential blended families juggling the demands of parenthood with caring for children with special needs.
Having grown up in a blended family with a sibling with special needs and now being a stepparent with a child with special educational needs, the author has experienced the phenomenon from both angles. She is therefore well placed to share information with stepparents caring for children with special needs and disabilities. As an active member of the "special needs and disabilities" community, the author was also able to draw data from fellow parents of children with special needs to supplement the information.
Whether you have an established stepfamily or are in the early stages of a blended family, you can find value in the information presented. Here's a synopsis of what you'll discover:
- Launch - considerations for the early stages of your blended family
- Love - how to keep the love alive with your partner and in the family unit
- Listen - strategies for listening even when your child is non-verbal
- Laugh - techniques for building fun into your stepfamily
In addition to the 9 L's, you'll discover:
- State benefits you may be able to access
- The effect of challenging behavior on your stepfamily
- How cognitive disability can affect a child's conduct
Also included is a chapter of real-life case studies from stepparents caring for disabled children. The experiences they share hold valuable lessons on issues that may arise and how they handled them in their endeavor to maintain a happy stepfamily.
There are various reasons why the union of two parents and their children from former relationships can prove challenging. Blended families face unique challenges, and when a child with special needs is part of the family unit, the learning curve can be very steep. Unsuspecting partners might discover that they are out of their depth in the circumstances. If not understood before moving in, the stepparent may struggle to cope and throw the family off balance.
Undeniably, issues with stepchildren can cause stress in the relationship. Couples entering blended families with disabled children should recognize and accept that their world will change as they embrace new roles and build lasting relationships. They should also have a sense of optimism since children with special needs often bring added joy and strengthen the family bond.
The text provides valuable tips and techniques for raising stepchildren with special needs and disabilities. It is written solely from the perspective of a parent who has been on both sides of the equation and holds no medical or technical advice or information. The families who will benefit include those caring for children with a cognitive or physical disability and children who display challenging behavior. It is also helpful to families caring for children with developmental disabilities such as autism. In addition, you'll discover how to bond with your 'special' stepchild without upseting the rest of the family and understand how to strengthen the relationship with your partner so that the children in the family unit can feel safe and content.