Expired Parenting Children with Special Needs: Family Relationships & Family Life [Online]

The Children with Special Needs Project team is presenting a workshop for therapists who work with families and children with special needs including autism, ADHD, LD and other developmental disabilities. Having a child with special needs affects all aspects of family life, especially when the child has an invisible disability Children who exhibit over or under-reactivity often create stress in the parent-child relationship, as family members struggle to make meaning and have realistic expectations.

The first part of the workshop will focus on potential challenges in the parent-child, co-parenting, sibling, or extended family relationships. The co-parenting relationship may be tense because of differences in parenting beliefs and practices and/or differences in the emotional journey. Sibling issues surface around typically developing children’s reactions and feelings that it’s not fair. Also, parents may not feel understood by friends and colleagues which often leads to feelings of disconnect and isolation.

The second part of the workshop will include family narratives that illustrate how family routines, daily life and special occasions are impacted by disability. A familiar theme is that the child’s behavior constrains family life and accommodations are made to minimize stress and family burden. The workshop will also address therapeutic choices to promote child, parent and family resilience.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discuss the impact of disability on the parent-child, couple, sibling, extended family and friend relationships
  • Describe relationship issues such as conflicting beliefs, disability in the family, negative cycles of interaction and sibling rivalry
  • Discuss the impact of disability on the quality of family life: cumulative stress, routines and community participation


Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR, is the Associate Director of the Center for the Developing Child and Family and Director of the Resilient Families: Children with Special Needs Project at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She is also an adjunct faculty member at NYU. Previous academic appointments include Chairperson at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Associate Research Scientist at Yale School of Medicine and adjunct faculty at Columbia University and Sacred Heart University. She has conducted early intervention and special education policy studies for the NYS Department of Education and NYC Board of Education as well as municipalities and school systems in Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT. Dr. Grossman is also an occupational therapy and public health educator and consultant to community agencies. She has published and presented nationally and internationally in the areas of family resilience, parenting, mental health consultation and best practices in early intervention/special education. Dr. Grossman maintains a private practice in family therapy in New York City.

  • May 19, 2021
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Judy Grossman, DrPH, OTR

3 CE Contact Hours

Location:   Online Event


A link will be emailed to you one day before the event. Online events are held in Eastern Standard Time (ET).

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