When you have a child with a disability, your entire world may go into a tailspin from the first day that you make the discovery, and may repeatedly impact your mental and emotional health for many years to come. To those who already have a child with a disability this statement is common knowledge, but if you are just beginning to experience the difference your child’s disability can make in your life and the impact that this change or discovery can and will have on your family, you have many questions, not least of all is how do you help this child? As a parent you will constantly spend time wondering what you can do to help your child be happy and live a quality life through adulthood. And if that’s you, and you are doing this wondering now, then you’re in the right place to start getting the help you need. Some of the best things you can do to help your disabled child right now so that they can enjoy their childhood and move on to an enjoyable and fulfilling adulthood include:
- Reach out for help and don’t be afraid of admitting that you need help. Too many individuals with children who have a disability are embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. But there are many organisations out there who are willing and at the ready to help you when you need support. Support groups offered through non-profits can help you gain access to families in similar situations so you can get emotional support and friendship from people who are on your side and understand what you are going through.
- Utilise government programs for disabled children, if you are able and qualified. Local councils are available to help you get the support you need for your family when you have a disabled child and can provide you support through temporary break services (giving you reprieve), help going on holiday, getting a home carer to help you in the home with your child, daily living aids and adaptations to your home (especially critical as you will require planning authorisations to make structural changes to your home that will accommodate your disabled child in some cases), and in some cases financial help to assist your family in making hospital visits. These services are required of all councils as a result of the Children Act of 1989, and some of the services offered are free of charge.
- Learn about your child’s disability. Learning about your child’s disability can help you to make bigger strides towards helping them succeed in life. And if you learn about your child’s disability and can prove that it was caused by vaccinations, you can reach out to the government for financial assistance through a lump-sum tax-free payment, although it is important to note that this payment can impact other credits and services you receive.
- Take care of yourself and take a break. Taking care of yourself and taking a break every once in a while is critical in caring for your disabled child. Every parent of a disabled child hits the breaking point and needs to be alone. It’s okay to reach out to a care group, a family member, or a friend, and ask for time off, even if it is only for a night or two.
- Search for activity groups and educational groups that work with children who have your child’s same disability. This will help you child to meet new friends and get the care, support, and patience they need to be a kid and learn on their own terms.