Q: Our daughter has multiple disabilities. Taking care of her is taking a toll on us and our marriage is suffering. What can we do?

    A: Parenting is always challenging, however parenting a child with multiple disabilities is far more difficult. Because of the many unique and complex needs of the child there is a profound effect on both, the marital relationship and the family. Though family and friends may be sympathetic, they cannot fully grasp the challenges you face and the demands placed upon you by your child and their around the clock needs.

    Self-care is important amid feelings of joy, grief, anxiety, guilt, and stress. If you and your spouse have drifted apart and the entire focus of your relationship and communication is about the care of your child, it will be important to carve out some “couple time” where you refocus on each other. Professional counselling with a knowledgeable clinician, who understands what you are going through, can be crucial.

    Dr. Elayne Tanner understands this need. Someone experienced in working with trauma, disabilities, autism, caregiving systems, supports and your unique family dynamics is crucial and it is important to have someone who understands your feelings of anger and guilt and disappointment. The right person will assist you and your spouse in developing better coping skills in order to deal with the emotions, short and long term planning, and finding the right resources to support your needs. You will learn how to define your family goals so that they reflect your reality as the parents of a child with multiple disabilities. We have just that person for you.

    Dr. Elayne Tanner is pleased to announce a new addition to the team! Katherine Ridolfo MSW, RSW has a specialist degree in Disability Studies. Years of extensive experience working within the developmental sector, has given Katherine a rare and intimate glimpse into these unique dynamics and challenges. Katherine helps families achieve their goals and potential and will do the same for you. Because Dr. Tanner understands your difficulty in scheduling time, Katherine will be available weekends by the hour or in blocks of time. In the face of this challenge you can build a stronger relationship.

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