Job Description: Parent of a Child with Complex Needs

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
07/09/18  3:51 PM PST
Child with Complex Needs

Job Description: Parent of a Child with Complex Needs

When becoming a parent, there isn’t a job description, but there are certain expectations that come with the role. We know that infants will need diaper changes, frequent feedings and will awaken during the night. These expectations continue, more or less, throughout childhood. Before having children, we know they will break us out of our comfort zones. The learning curve is always steep, but when children are born with or develop complex medical or developmental needs, the parenting role expands into new territory without any additional preparation and few resources. It’s like landing a job with no idea what the expectations are and working over 100 hours a week in order to meet the minimum requirements.

Looking back on my years of complex parenting, if I had to write a job description, it would go like this:

Job Title: Parent of a Child with Complex Needs

Full/part time: Full time with over 100 hours a week expected, often more

Location: Wherever you are

Travel: Numerous trips to doctors, hospitals, therapists and schools

Pay: Hugs and kisses

Training: No formal training is given, you must find your own mentors. By the end of the probationary period you will have achieved expertise in your own niche with minimal assistance. You will need to develop a thick skin, and boundless determination immediately upon hire.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (in addition to all normal parenting responsibilities)

  • Scheduling and transporting for all medical, therapeutic and educational needs
  • Medication administration
  • Advocacy in your family, community, schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices and therapy centers,
  • In-home nursing, teaching and therapy
  • Find solutions to any and every situation that arises
  • Creative budget management
  • Management of your other children and household duties including cooking, cleaning, laundry and more
  • Adore a small human to such a degree that you would go to the end of the world for them


  • People from any and all educational backgrounds will be hired. Ideal candidates possess the education of medical doctor, teacher, pharmacist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech language pathologist, registered nurse, attorney, marathon runner, weight lifter and comedian. Expertise in using Google is a plus.


  • Ability to endure years of sleeplessness
  • Ability to pack a hospital bag in under two minutes
  • Tolerance for often bizarre, totally unsolicited advice
  • Undying optimism
  • Ability to find joy in the small things
  • Ability to take care of yourself even though you have no time or energy to spare

Applications will not be accepted – candidates are typically informed of their position by a medical professional with no advanced notice or preparation and are expected to begin immediately.


inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

Follow her on Facebook


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