Tag Archives: special needs

Could your new BFF be a Journal?

My new BFF is a Journal

For some, the act of writing in a journal is “like having a best friend that didn’t talk back. I didn’t get interrupted mid-sentence.” B. Lynn Goodwin, the former caregiver, and author admitted in an online article I recently read. And, while it is important to cultivate social relationships, like in the Shining Lights Community Small Group setting for Caregivers of Special Needs Loved Ones, sometimes your best relationship may be a “non-judgmental piece of paper.”1

Why? Well, for many reasons, such as:

  • Emotions are fickle.
  • There are good days and not-so-good days
  • Family and friends are not always available to talk to
  • You can keep it real. You can’t take back words said to people but you can ball up a letter and throw it in the trash if you like.

But before you toss this notion of “getting it all out on paper,” know that there are many benefits to expressive writing. Some of which are changes for the better in your:

  • Outlook
  • Concentration
  • Sleeping
  • Relationships
  • Immune function2

Sounds appealing, right?

So what should you journal? The short answer is … anything you like.

My personal suggestion is, to begin with, a gratitude journal. Since we as humans are much too quick to forget all the blessings we have. You could try to count them one-by-one, and collect your memories in a singular notebook, store-bought journal, or in a word processing document.

Other options could be to capture the main events of the day, a reaction to a bible scripture or a quote, or quite simply jot down the thought that is on your mind at the moment. It’s entirely up to you. Remember this is expressive writing and it’s for your eyes only.

Do you have time? Probably not, so you have to make the time and do your best to be consistent. Around 7 to 10 minutes a day in a private setting is a good start. Whether it’s morning, evening or at home on the throne, it doesn’t matter. The best time is always, whenever it works best for you. And if you miss a day, write about “why” the next day, or scrap it and focus on the present.

Whatever, you do, start today! You may find journaling to be the best friend and listener you’ve ever encountered.

The above is a transcript written for the Shining Lights Community Small Group for Caregivers of Special Needs Adults.

  1. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/journal on 10/30/18@ 2:08 PM, article, “Dear Diary: Journaling for Caregivers,” December 8, 2011.
  2. Article by Robert Busha, Ph.D., LifeWise Living Ministries, Copyright 2014

@ least 10 things you might need to know as a friend

If you are a special needs parent, you probably have many needs, right? Well, Gillian Marchenko has shared ten of hers, and I thought they were worth re-sharing here.  As an advocate for caregivers, there are some real nuggets for folks who love parents of special needs people. I hope that is you! Be blessed and be a blessing,

L Taylor

10 Special Needs of Special Needs Parents:

  1. We need you to bring it up. Ask us our stories. Most parents of children with special needs would prefer that others ask them about their child directly, rather than avoiding the topic.
  2. We need our kids to have friends. We want you to invite our kids over for playdates. Simply call and ask, “How can we make this work?”
  3. We need you to share your concerns. If you are concerned about something regarding our child, tell us about it. We may not have an answer, but we appreciate the opportunity to have a conversation about it.
  4. We need you to make an effort. Effort goes a long way. Educate yourself about our child’s special needs.
  5. We need you to prepare your kids to hang out with our kids. Talk with your kids about it beforehand. Talk about behaviors and ways your child can play with our children.
  6. We need you to be considerate. Consider the age of the child with special needs. If it is a new baby or a younger kid, we may not be ready to talk about it.
  7. We need your tangible help. Offer to bring over a meal, or watch our child with special needs so we can take our other child to a matinee.
  8. We need you to treat us like other friends, too. Talk about other things with us besides our child with special needs.
  9. We need validation. Don’t dismiss our concerns. When we open up about a struggle, I want validation, not to be blown off.
  10. We need invitations. Don’t assume we’re too busy. Ask us out to eat or to a movie. We may not be able to get away as easily as others, but we’ll go if we can. Even if we can’t, your invitation will make our day.


During my own research, I have discovered these 10 things to be true. After interviewing a mother of a special needs daughter, she immediately shared concerns about people in her life not knowing her story, the lack of social engagements for her child, and the increasing need for tangible help.  It pained me to see her pain.  Then I ran across this list, and it was a confirmation that this message needs to get out.

So my special thanks to Gillian Marchenko for summing up some of their needs. May we all learn something from this article. Photo by Mert Talay on Unsplash