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10 Ways to Help a Family with Special Needs

I received a message from my best friend this week.

"There have been several times when I've wanted to help your family, but didn't know how."

So many times people wish they could help a family with special needs, but have no clue what to do. 

It's a complicated subject.  

There may be special dietary needs.  

Behaviors may be extreme.  

What can one do that will actually help and not hinder things?

I used to have a list on hand in case someone asked, but times changed and it no longer fit the needs of our family.  

After the conversation with my best friend I realized that it's time for me to make a new list.  

There are people out there looking for ways to help, and quite honestly, I would be lying to say I don't need it from time to time.

10 Ways to Help a Family with Special Needs

Today, I share with you my list.  Here are 10 ways to help a family with special needs.  

Your list may be completely different than mine based on the needs of your family and what you feel comfortable with.  

It's my hope, that by sharing mine, you will be inspired to make your own.  

Because let's face it, we can't do what we do, day in and day out, on our own.  We need help.

10 Ways to Help a Family with Special Needs

1.  Meals & Groceries

When our kiddos are raging or having meltdowns, there's a good chance that a meal is going to be really late, which in turn causes more behavioral issues.  

Gift cards to restaurants that everyone, including Sunshine, can eat at are so helpful.  Currently everyone in the family loves Panera BreadChilisApplebees and Wendy's.  

Drop off or send paper plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. You will be considered a best friend for life.  No one has to worry about cooking or doing dishes.

An order of groceries is also so incredibly helpful. I keep an Eddy Family Grocery List on Amazon for anyone who wants to help with nonperishables. All of the items on this list are Sunshine diet friendly.

2.  Gas Card

We drive around a 12 passenger van in order to keep all of our children safe while traveling. A 12 passenger van allows Sunshine to have her own row.

Gas is expensive. Appointments and therapies are endless.

Gas cards are always helpful, as they help lighten the load.

3.  Outdoor Chores

It's hard enough to stay on top of in-house chores, but outdoor chores are neglected more than I'd like to admit, especially when more than one of the kiddos is having a hard day and it takes both parents to keep things going.

If we just happened to look outside and see someone mowing our lawn, raking leaves, or tending to other outdoor tasks, we would probably cry tears of joy, because it meant one less thing we had to fit into our day.

4.  A Stay-at-Home Date Night Care Package

We don't get out much. Finding babysitters that are familiar with and can handle Sunshine's needs is incredibly difficult. She can not be left home with siblings without two adults at home to supervise due to safety. 

Still we do try to have a weekly date night at home once the kiddos go to bed, especially after an incredibly difficult day when our brains just can't function anymore.

It's those occasions that we're always looking for a new movie to watch.  Pair it with yummy snacks and we're sure to get in couple's time and a little self-care.

The best way to go about this where we live is to combine a Red Box Gift Card to rent a movie and a Food Lion gift card for treats. 

5.  Support Our Business

When times are tough, getting work done is pretty much impossible.  

Even if we have time, our brains just aren't functioning enough to be productive.  

It's during these times that our business suffers and we beat ourselves up for not being able to be consistent.  

You see, blogging is all about how many page views you have each day, how many products you sell, and how many comments and shares you receive on posts that you write. So if you have a moment, it means more than you could imagine if you:

  • Share a blog post I've written on social media
  • Leave a comment on a blog post on social media
  • Pin a post to one of your personal Pinterest boards
  • Buy a product (My Shop)
  • Leave an amazing product review on TpT or the blog.
All of these gestures help keep us afloat when we don't have the time or energy to work due to issues related to special needs at home.  

It gives us a peace of mind knowing that behaviors won't interfere with our income.

6.  Gift Cards for Family Fun

Sunshine does best when she has something to look forward to. I do best when I can be spontaneous and shake things up a bit. The other kids LOVE it when we get to go and do something fun.

Gift cards to our local movie theater or drive-in, tickets to a local theater show or musical, or gift cards to local restaurants are so helpful.

Creating positive family memories, in the midst of chaos and madness helps to save everyone's sanity.

7.  Home Repair

My husband and I are not blessed with talents or knowledge in the areas of carpentry, plumbing, electrical, or any other home repair specialty.  

And even if we were, tending to Sunshine's needs takes all the time we have and home projects rarely ever are finished 100% of the way. 

There is always a home repair project left undone in this house.  Help with these tasks from a skilled worker who knows what they're doing is so wonderful.  

8.  Amazon Wish List Items

There is never a time when I'm not adding items to my wish list to help Sunshine and/or the other kids. 

Sunshine especially needs a lot of supports throughout her day, along with countless kits to use in different situations such as Dinomite's football games, stormy weather, long car trips, etc.

All of these expenses add up. We always welcome help in obtaining items that we're finding necessary to help Sunshine (and other siblings) be as successful and independent as possible.

We keep an Eddy Family Special Needs Wish List on Amazon to share when others offer to help.

9.  Sewing Projects

Confession:  I do not sew.  And even if I did, it's one of those tasks I never get to.  Ask my husband.  

If someone enjoyed sewing and wanted to volunteer to sew to take on a few sewing projects I need done,  I would probably kiss them.

10.  Bouquet of Flowers

There's just something about a bouquet of fresh flowers that can brighten up any day, especially if it includes red roses (my favorite).  

Live flowers change the energy in the house.  They're fragrant and beautiful to look at.  When I need to take a deep breath, what better way to do so than to take time and smell the roses.

The reason for having a list like this, is that those who want to help and can help in the ways you need, are able to do so.  And let's face it, parents of children with special needs do need help, especially when times are extremely difficult.

Some may think a list like this is silly or perhaps even selfish.  Don't listen to them!  

If you mention ideas from your list when asked, and people can't help or don't want to help in the ways you need, that's okay.  It doesn't mean they love you any less.  Don't be discouraged.  You've done your part.

It can be so hard to ask for help and at times even harder to receive it.  This may be the time when you need the service.  But know, there will be a time later, when circumstances are different.  You will be able to help others and pay it forward.

After my best friend talked about how she had been wanting to help but didn't know how. She asked me three questions.

1.  Where does my family like to eat?
2.  What do we order?
3.  What time do we eat dinner?

She had finally come up with a way to help and was so excited about it.  I began to cry.  To her it was a simple thing, but to me...  It was such an incredible gift.  

Dinner for one night means I don't have to worry about managing behaviors AND fixing dinner at the same time.  

On one of those days when I'm beyond exhausted, it means that I can rest, even if for just a little bit.

You have no idea how much helping a family with special needs can make a difference.  You will forever be considered an angel.

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10 Ways to help a Family with Special Needs


  1. very touching... love the way you describe,.. i know some days would be so hard and even a little pleasure gives bundle of joy..

  2. These are great ideas. As someone who is in the same place, I appreciate your taking the time to come up with this list. One thing three or four women have done for our family is to get together and cook meals that can go into our freezer. It is nice to have food that I can grab and put on the table without much thought or effort when I am too exhausted to think straight.

    Another thing that has been a wonderful encouragement is the offer of a few hours of help. They show up and whatever the need is that day, they dig in and help. It could be taking down holiday decorations,helping me pack up and put away out of season clothes or running an errand. It is so much easier with another person there.