4 Key Things New Parents Should Do If Their Child Has A Disability
Finding out that your child has a physical disability can be very scary. All parents want their children to get the most out of life and it’s only natural to worry about their quality of life. You may also be worried about your responsibilities and whether you will be able to provide the support that your child needs. There may be extra medical costs to manage too, which is another cause of stress.
All new parents are terrified when their new baby first arrives but these fears are even greater for the parents of children with a disability. If you are concerned about how to support a child with a disability, here are some important things you need to keep in mind.
Learn About Their Disability
The most important thing you need to do right away is learn as much as you can about your child’s disability. The more you can educate yourself about their needs, the easier it will be to support them. So, speak to your doctor and ask as many questions as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask things that seem obvious or things that seem like silly questions. There won’t be judgment there and you will feel much better equipped to support your child. You may also be able to find local support groups where you can meet other parents and children dealing with the same challenges. Not only does this give you practical help and advice, but it also helps you manage your mental health. It feels very isolating when you are trying to deal with difficult situations that others around you don’t necessarily understand, so meeting with other people that have been through it all before is so useful.
Plan For Medical Costs
Stress about added medical costs is very common for parents of disabled children. It’s important that your child has all of the medical support that they need, and you need to ensure that you plan for this so you can manage your finances properly. If your child developed a disability as a result of a difficult birth, you may be able to make a claim against the medical professional if you think that they were negligent. It’s important that you find a lawyer and speak to them about your situation. You may be able to win financial support to help with your child’s medical costs and this will take the pressure off a lot.
Even if you cannot win that financial support, you can still plan ahead for medical costs. Speak to your doctor about what support and treatment your child may need and how much it will cost. For instance, will they require assistance with mobility or ongoing physiotherapy? What adjustments will you need to make to your home in the future, such as installing a stairlift for example? Are stairlifts even safe? The good news is that yes, stairlifts are generally safe provided they are correctly installed and correctly used. Once you have a clear idea of the cost, you can start adjusting your budget and finding an insurance policy that will cover the majority of the bills.
Manage Your Frustrations
If any parent tells you that they never get frustrated with their children, they’re not being honest. There are a lot of common frustrations that all parents face, but when you are trying to support a child with a disability it’s easier to get frustrated. Often, parents subconsciously compare their children to others around them and then feel very negative if they think that their child is missing out on opportunities or not progressing as quickly as other children. The added stress of supporting them and managing their disability can lead to frustration too. But it’s important that you keep things in perspective and remember that, as long as your child is happy, you are doing an amazing job.
Talk To Your Child About Their Disability
Helping your child understand their disability is crucial if you want them to be happy and healthy. As they get older, they will be more aware that they are different from others around them, and it’s important that you help them understand that this is ok. If you don’t speak to them about their disability, they will see it as a huge negative. But if you can talk to them about it from an early age and explain that it is a part of who they are and it doesn’t mean that they can’t live the life that they want to, they will move through life with a much more positive outlook. Helping them understand the specific challenges they will face also means that they can learn to be more independent and less reliant on you to support them. Independence is so important for all children, whether they have a disability or not, so this is something you need to encourage from a young age, even if you are worried about them.
The initial fear that new parents feel when they find out their child has a disability can cloud their judgment. It is important that you keep these things in mind if you want to give your child the support that they need.