Helping a parent deal with their special needs child

Pastor Jimmy Bartz offers suggestions for those seeking to support a friend who has a special needs child
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Helping a parent deal with their special needs child

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One of the toughest things that I've found personally as a parent of a special needs child is when people give advice. Oftentimes, the parent with the special needs child is the one who's on the ground, day to day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and is most tuned into the disability that his or her child is expressing. So the advice that I would give folks who are trying to soothe, comfort, heal, engage parents with special needs children is just to be a listener. Be a calming, compassionate, empathetic presence. So some just basic do's and don'ts about engaging parents with special needs children is ask all the questions you want. Parents with special needs kids love to be asked about their children. Don't - parents know what's going on in the lives of their kids and know what's going on in the research and information around their child's disabilities. Don't be the first one to forward that latest article from whatever publication about the condition that their child is experiencing. I can promise you, they have that information. You want to be a listener, not someone who is trying to give advice.

Pastor Jimmy Bartz offers suggestions for those seeking to support a friend who has a special needs child

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Jimmy Bartz

Priest

Jimmy serves as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Prior to coming to Jackson, he was the founder and priest at Thad’s, an emergent Episcopal Church in the Santa Monica, California, in the Diocese of Los Angeles. He has also served as the Campus Missioner at the University of Texas in Austin, at All Saints’ in Austin, Texas, and All Saints’ Parish in Beverly Hills, California. He is a graduate the University of Texas at Austin and Virginia Theological Seminary. Presently, he serves as the Chair of the Board of the Episcopal Evangelism Society, and in years past has worked with Red Bull High Performance teaching athletes spiritual disciplines, with Naval Special Warfare working to create systems for character development within special operations teams, and was a speaker at TEDx, Venice Beach.
Married to Cindy and dad to Jas and Jade, the Bartz family loves to spend time outside mountaineering, skiing, fly-fishing, hunting and surfing.  Jimmy is currently writing a book on the spirituality of risk.

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