How To Be A Great Friend To A Special Needs Parent

Sylvia Philips by Sylvia Philips Additional Needs

Sylvia Philips

Sylvia Philips

My family has been through the tragedy, trials and ultimate triumph over childhood brain cancer. My daughter Bethany, underwent emergency surgery t...

We are often emotionally drained and physically exhausted.

We don't have much time or energy to put into nurturing friendships.

But that doesn't mean we don't want to have friends!

On the contrary...special needs parents want and desperately need friends.

But it takes a special kind of person to be the type of friend that a special needs parent really needs.

Do you have what it takes to be the friend of a special needs parent?

Because, let me be perfectly honest here, most special needs parents are, well, quite needy and chances are they always will be!

So what exactly do special needs parents want and need from their friends?

I certainly can't speak for every special needs parent, but I can tell you eleven things that I need from a friend!

1. I need friends who are willing to understand and accept that my child will always be my number one priority.

She will always take up most of my time and energy. So please don't get your feelings hurt if I can't meet you for lunch or attend your dinner party.

2. I need friends who understand and accept that my child's disabilities are not curable.

Our situation is not going to change much over the years. So please don't get your hopes up too high that someday I may be able to meet you for lunch or actually ever make it to one of your dinner parties.

3. But I also need friends to keep inviting me out to lunch and to their dinner parties.

Despite the fact that I repeatedly turn them down. I just might actually be able to make it once in a while!

4. I need friends who are willing to understand and accept that most of the time, if they want to get together with me, it may have to be at my house, on my terms, or I might need to bring my child along on an outing.

5. I need friends who will acknowledge the seriousness and gravity of my child's disabilities and chronic illness.

Please don't roll your eyes behind my back or secretly think I am exaggerating or making up my child's condition. 

6. I need friends who will encourage, support, and pray for me and my child in my efforts to provide the happiest and healthiest life for her.

7. I need friends who will respect the decisions I make about and for my child and not assume they know what's best.

Please don't try to convince me to try this, that, and the other miracle cure you've recently read about, because chances are that I already have!

8. I need friends who will just be there for me when I've had a hard day and need a shoulder to cry on.

Please don't try to offer solutions to my problems or spit out spiritual platitudes. I just need someone to listen!

9. I need friends who see when I'm overwhelmed and offer to help with practical matters.

Do you see the dishes piling up in my sink? Don't ask me if I want you to wash them.. just start washing them!

10. While I certainly don't expect my friends to do all my housework for me, I do expect that if you offer to help, that you will do it.

11. And finally, I need friends who like my child and treat her with the kindness, dignity and respect that she so rightly deserves!


A person who truly loves you will never let you go no matter how hard the situation.”   - kushandwisdom.tumblr

I get by with a little help from my friends.”- The Beatles

One of the most beautiful qualities about a true friendship is to understand and be understood.”- Lucius Annaeus Seneca


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