Do Your Research
When your child has a disability, especially a learning disability, a lack of understanding makes things so much harder for you. It can seem incredibly daunting because you simply don’t understand how their disability affects them and how they feel day to day. This is especially true of things like autism because it’s difficult to relate to how your child feels, that’s why it’s so important that you do your research and learn to understand their disability.
Your first port of call should always be your doctor. Speak with them and ask if they have any resources that can help you. They will be able to give you some information and direct you to other groups that can help you out more.
Join A Support Group
One of the things that your doctor will probably tell you is that you should go to a support group. These are so important for people that are trying to care for a child that has disabilities because they will help you and your child so much. A lot of parents feel so isolated because their parenting experience is different to that of the people around them. If they try to talk about their personal challenges, other people can’t necessarily relate and they won’t be able to give good advice. But if you attend a support group, you’ll meet a lot of parents who know exactly what it’s like to care for a child with a disability. It’s very useful to speak with people that have faced the same challenges as you and people that have children older than yours will be able to give you a lot of great advice.
Seek Financial Assistance
Often, there are extra financial obligations that come along with caring for a disabled child. They may need a wheelchair or custom furniture, for example, or they might need certain medications on a regular basis. It might be more difficult for you to work if you have increased care obligations, which means that managing your finances can be a real struggle. However, there is help out there for people that are in your situation. You need to look into applying for a child disability tax credit if you are eligible. That extra money can be such a huge help and you can make sure that you’re able to afford everything that your child needs. It also gives you more freedom to take time out of work to look after your child full time.
Good Communication With Schools
Depending on the severity and nature of your child's condition, they may attend a specific school for people with disabilities. These schools will be far better equipped to deal with the various challenges associated with looking after a disabled child and so you don’t need to worry too much. But if your child is attending a mainstream school, they may not have as much expertise and they don’t always have the staff to give your child as much attention as they need. If you’re going to help your child succeed at school, it’s important that you maintain good communication.
Before your child starts school, you need to have meetings with the staff so you can explain what your child’s condition is and how it will affect them in the classroom. It’s important that the teachers are prepared for any issues that may arise. Once your child has started school, you need to have regular contact with the school to make sure that your child is getting on well. If there are any problems, you can work with staff at the school to deal with them and improve your child’s learning experience.
Manage Your Expectations
A lot of parents have big hopes and dreams for their child before they are born but if they have a disability, they might not be able to achieve some of those things that you thought they would. A lot of parents really struggle with this, but it’s important that you manage those expectations. The important thing is that your child is happy and healthy, it doesn’t matter if they don’t do some of the things that you thought that they would do.
Take Care Of Yourself
Obviously, your child is the most important thing in the world to you and you will work as hard as you need to in order to make sure that they’re cared for properly. But it’s also important that you make sure to look after yourself. If you aren’t physically and emotionally healthy, you won’t be able to care for your child effectively, but so many parents forget this and they neglect their own health. Joining a support group helps with your emotional well being a lot, but you also need to find other ways to manage your stress levels, otherwise, you could develop more serious mental health problems.
Eating right and trying to get exercise in as much as possible are both important as well. It’s easy to just grab a snack rather than preparing a good meal when you’re busy but you need to make the effort.
You also need to have a bit of time for yourself occasionally, otherwise, you won’t be able to handle the stress. Ask family members if they can help out from time to time so you can have an afternoon to relax.
Caring for a disabled child is very challenging but if you follow this advice, you can make sure that they always have everything that they need.