3 Ways Having a Child with Special Needs Can Help Your Career

I want to highlight how parents of children with special needs are able to succeed in their careers.

Being a parent is hard work. Toss in things like autism, illness, or a chronic condition and it can get a little more interesting. As the mom of a son with some challenges, I’ve discovered there are some really great qualities I and others in my “tribe” share.

1. We look at things differently. We’ve quietly watched other children who are the same age as ours do things our child is still struggling with. We celebrate the smallest of victories where others may take those for granted. How does this translate to work? We are always on the lookout for what’s working, what is not, how to improve the process and how to see through problems with a critical and honest eye.

2. We can pivot when needed. So many of our children have good days and bad days. When those good days are here, we want to take advantage of them and go, go, go! But we also know what to look for when things may be slowing down or come to a screeching halt. We have adapted to be flexible in our thoughts, our actions, and our lives. This can be a real advantage when something at work is just not going well. We can pivot and find ourselves looking at the situation in a new way. When we come back we often times find ourselves looking at that troublesome situation with a fresh perspective.

3. We investigate. Technology has increased so much that those who have a rare disease can find others with the click of a few buttons. Parents of children with special needs are research experts. We can find everything online and are voracious readers. With social media we’ve been known to find and directly correspond with the Doctors and researchers who are at the forefront of the research we are interested in. Ask us to solve problems! We know how to look into situations, research, do field studies, and report back with our best suggestions.

I’d love to hear from you. How have you been shaped by your child with special needs? What strengths and positive traits have you developed that have enhanced your career?

A version of this post originally appeared here.

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