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Ten Great Traits of Parents of Children with Special Needs

By Joan Celebi, Special Needs Parent Coach It's been said that having a child with special needs brings out the best in us, and I heartily agree. I suspect you'll recognize yourself in the qualities listed here:

  • Camaraderie. Meet someone new + find out they have a child with special needs = instant friend.
  • Sense of Humor. It carries us through even the worst of days days.
  • Appreciation for what's truly important in life.
  • Determination. A "do whatever it takes," never give up attitude.
  • Vigilance. Often anticipating and heading off potential problems before they happen.
  • Empathy...for others facing challenges in life, whatever those challenges may be.
  • Intellectual Prowess...from reading all those research studies!
  • Resourcefulness. More often than not, we find a way or make a way.
  • Strength...mental, emotional, physical, and stamina, too.
  • Courage. We face challenges head on that we once could never have fathomed.

Joan Celebi is the founder of and author of Overwhelmed No More! Published with permission.

Parenting Classes

Statewide Responsive Parenting Calendar
Designed specifically for parents of children birth to 3 years old. Learn about your child's temperament, safety points to keep in mind and effective discipline for this age.

Sioux Falls, Sanford CHILD Services
Responsive Parenting classes are free and run continually on Wednesdays. The classes do require pre-registration. In some locations, child care is offered at no cost to parents who attend the classes. For questions or to register, please call (605) 328-7115 or email

Statewide Common Sense Parenting Classes
Designed by Boys Town as a practical approach to help parents be more positive with their children and to use more effective discipline. Common Sense Parenting Classes are appropriate for parents with children ages 3 to adolescence. If classes are not offered in your area or to explore opportunities for virtual classes, contact 605.773.3227

Aberdeen: Lutheran Social Services 605.882.2740
Belle Fourche: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120
Brookings: Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership 605.692.6391
Cheyenne River Reservation: Northwest Area Schools Outreach Services 605.374.3918 andCatholic Social Services Outreach Services 605.348.6086 or 1.800.727.2401

Custer: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120
Hot Springs: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120
Huron: Jan Manolis Family Safe Center 605.554.0398
Madison: Inter-Lakes Community Action Partnership 605.692.6391

Martin: 605.374.3918
Mitchell: Family Visitation Center 605.996.8880
Mobridge Area: 605.374.3918
Pierre: Growing Up Together 605.224.3189

Pine Ridge Reservation: Catholic Social Services Outreach Services 605.348.6086 or 1.800.727.2401
Rapid City: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120 and Catholic Social Services 605.348.6086 or 1.800.727.2401
Rosebud Reservation: Catholic Social Services Outreach Services 605.348.6086 or 1.800.727.2401
Sioux Falls: Childrens Inn 605.338.0116

Sisseton: Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Agency Village 605.698.3911
Spearfish: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120
Standing Rock Reservation: Northwest Area Schools Outreach Services 605.374.3918, 605.374.3918
Sturgis: Black Hills Special Services Cooperative 605.394.5120

Yankton: River City Family Connections 605.665.1204
Watertown: Beacon Center 605.886.4304
Winner: Southern Plains Behavioral Health Services 605.835.8505 (evenings)

Parenting Training - Free and Online

Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers
Topics include: Communicating with Your Child, Creating Structure and Rules, Giving Directions, Using Discipline and Consequences, and Using Time-Out. Two types of videos are available, one features Real-Life Parenting Challenges that show how parents address every day challenges and find real world solutions. The other features experts offering "How-To" tips and ideas that are direct and to-the-point.

Positive Behavior Support for Parents - Self-Paced Online Training

An overview of positive behavior support strategies, including ways to encourage good behavior. Requires 1-1.5 hours to complete. West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disability.

Strategies for Parenting Defiant Children - Webinar
Ross W. Greene, Ph.D., outlines positive parenting techniques that will help oppositional and defiant kids manage frustration and develop greater empathy and reasoning skills. In this audio and slide presentation Dr Greene discusses: tips for calming your defiant child, how to "reason" with your ODD child, strategies to help your kid manage frustration and problem solve.

Positive Discipline Part 1
This 25 minute video is appropriate for parents who want to learn an alternative to the reward and punishment system. The program is also appropriate for parents interested in different techniques that includes children with disorders of attachment, children on the autism spectrum, and children exposed to trauma. University of Montana Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development.

Positive Discipline Part 2
This program promotes a strong parent to child connection, as well as sets clear boundaries and limits. University of Montana Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development.

Conscious Discipline Videos

Seven-part webinar series includes every Conscious Discipline skill and structure based on an essential power of social-emotional health in adults and children. This popular series explores each of the seven powers: Perception, Unity, Attention, Free Will, Love, Acceptance and Intention.

Using the M.A.P. process to help children be successful: Model, Add pictures, and Practice.

Parent Tips for Picky Eaters
A registered dietitian offers helpful approaches for parents of picky eaters (and how to prevent world war three from breaking out at the dinner table!)

Ins and Outs of Adolescent Brain Development - Webinar
Why do teenagers act the way they do? The prefrontal cortex, which controls higher-order thinking abilities, is not fully developed until very late in adolescence. In this introduction to adolescent brain development, we will focus on the development (and under-development) of various parts of the brain, the ways this brain development affects behavior, and ways to support adolescents as they finish the crucial period of brain development. Presenter: Dr. Diane Bales, Associate Professor and Extension Human Development Specialist, University of Georgia.

Successful Co-Parenting After a Divorce - Online Training
Free online, interactive, multimedia platform with videos demonstrating skills and strategies, extensive resource site, and certificate of training. Applicable to parents, family members and professionals. Modules: Introduction to Divorce and Co-Parenting; Strategies and Skills for Co-Parenting; Self-Care, Transitions, and Safety.

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Sign up for the free Milestone Tracker App to help you understand your child's development and ways to help them reach developmental milestones.

Sign up for Bright by Text for free information and resources to help all those caring for children up to age 8.


Information, guides and resources.

Raising your Grandchildren
There is much information on this website for grandparents raising grandchildren or other relatives parenting someone else's child.

Grandparents of Kids with Special Needs
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Generations United Improving the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs.

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