Parenting a Special Child

Tisha Singh Chandel
Parenting a special child is often considered as a rollercoaster of mixed emotions and experiences. It is always difficult to speak about how you feelas having a child with disability has a serious effect on individuals’ physical and emotional well-being. As per Census 2011, the differently-abled population in India was 26.8 million.
There are 14.9 million men with disabilities as compared to 11.8 million women in the country. State Jammu and Kashmir has 3,61,153 disabled persons, outof which 1,01,428 are of 0-19 years of age. State-wise data reveal that states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmirhave more than 2.51 per cent disabled population.
As per Jammu and Kashmir Persons with Disabilities Act, 1998 (JKPDA), it is the responsibility government departments and local authorities to develop infrastructure accessible to physically-challenged persons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tried to change the mindsetof people towards differently-abled by replacing the word ‘viklang’ (disabled)with ‘divyang’ (endowed with special attributes). People with physical disabilities tend to develop special attributes that even the fully ‘able’ would lack. However, when parents learn that their child is suffering from some disability, the journey of isolation and helplessness begins which results indepression, anger, stress, fear, guilt, confusion, powerlessness, disappointment and rejection. The life of such parents is more challenging, stressful and different from that of parents of normal children. Thus, focus should be on raising the emotional intelligence of parents that may assist them in perceiving, managing, using and understanding emotions in self and others. Providing training to improve emotional intelligence through yoga, meditation and counselling would be a powerful approach to overcome the psychological illness in parents with special child. High emotional intelligence helps in maintaining positive outlook and controlling feelings of bitterness and anger. Hence, it is justified that these parents should possess high emotional intelligence competencies to cope up with stress and experience better quality of life, psychological well being and a higher
sense of life satisfaction.
(The author is a Research Scholar University of Jammu )