There are 14.1 million people with a disability in the UK, which includes 8% of children, Scope reveals. Parenting a child with a disability is a hugely enjoyable and rewarding responsibility that comes with plenty of challenges. Children with disabilities may require specialist support and equipment, as well as have special education needs. By taking advantage of all available support, you can provide your child with the best care possible.
Research your child’s disability
Learning all you can about your child’s condition will maximise your ability to support them. In addition to online research, you can also talk to medical professionals who can explain your child’s condition and ways you can best support them throughout each stage of their development. You can also get advice on physical therapies to improve your child’s balance, muscle strength, flexibility, and motor skills. Your research may also involve looking into available grants and provisions. In addition to government benefits, this may also include financial support for special education, accessible equipment, transport, and home modifications.
Contact family associations
Family associations provide emotional and moral support to parents of children with disabilities — especially during the first few years after diagnosis which are typically the hardest depending on the severity of the disability. Cerebral palsy, for example, is the most common childhood motor disability, which affects muscle tone, balance, movement, and coordination. Parents of children with cerebral palsy can benefit from connecting with other families to receive support and build friendships with people in similar situations, CP Family Network explains.
Get educational support
It’s important to work with your child’s school to ensure your child’s given the support they need. Keeping in regular contact with your child’s teacher, in particular, allows you to share relevant updates on your child’s learning. In turn, the teacher can tailor the curriculum to suit your child’s needs and abilities in areas ranging from literacy and numeracy to social integration without being too challenging. Schools, as well as other educational institutions, also typically offer support programmes designed for parents of children with disabilities. These programmes provide you with the opportunity to talk with professionals who can provide advice and guidance on your child’s unique needs and how to best support their development.
Raising a child is never easy, but raising a child with a disability can pose extra challenges. By researching your child’s disability, contacting family associations, and getting educational support, you can provide your child with the best care possible.