By Felicity Dryer

We all bond with our children on many different levels. Sometimes it’s through a common interest such as sports, the arts, cooking or any other activity that enables close, unity interaction.

Other times we bond from afar, watching our child attempt and/or persevere at something they wholly enjoy.

Yet, when raising a child with special needs, especially from a young age, the connection seems to manifest on a completely different level.

Maybe it’s the extra work, time and energy involved that offers the opportunity to connect or maybe it begins from the onset, after the dust settles and reality sets in.

Either way, part of raising a happy healthy child, no matter their condition, starts with how deeply you are able to link together as parent and kid. One for all, all for one.



The first step in bonding with your special needs child is to embrace their abilities. Focusing on what they can do, no matter how minimal, begins the journey of unconditional connection (love is already there).

You have already been through the full spectrum of their affliction and all you will need to do to care for such. You forge through with as much patience as you can muster and get the jobs at hand done.

However, during and after the rote responsibilities, keeping an eye out for clues that may offer an opportunity to bond could prove beneficial.


Look for:

  • Physical ability that may be put to use throwing or kicking a ball.
  • Eye-hand coordination that can be applied to board games or model building.
  • Hearing that could encourage audio enjoyment such as concerts or other sound related activities.
  • Any other talents or interests that could be woven into a parent-child undertaking.


Life ‘Em Up

Part of your parent-child bond is encouragement. No matter how difficult it all seems, they will always rely on you to keep them going. This is the bond that solidifies on a biological level because you are going through it together, side by side.

At a young age you are the template for the rest of their lives and dealing with special need they will need a great teacher. No student learns to their greatest capacity without bonding with their mentor.

Take advantage of their needs and offer praise for as much of their attempts as possible. By slowly building their self confidence you are in turn building your parent-child bond.


Get Physical

Touch is one of the topmost important aspects of any bonding relationship. Make a concerted effort to offer as much affection as you can.

Whether it’s just a hand on their shoulder or a great big bear hug, each time you touch your kid magic will happen. The brain releases feel-good chemicals like serotonin and stress hormones like cortisol quickly diminish.

Even if you grew up with little affection it is important to forge through your learned ways and give your child one of the greatest gifts a parent can offer; unrequited love through strong, gentle, empathetic touch.

The special bond with your child with special needs is a priceless opportunity to rise above adversity and reap untold rewards. No one is saying it’s easy, but as each day ends ask yourself how you bonded with your kid that day.

There’s always tomorrow to start again and there’s always yesterday to draw from.