Parenting A Child With A Disability

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Parenting is difficult for everybody. Single parenting is even harder. But being a single parent of a child with a disability can be the hardest. Children with special needs require more attention, energy, and resources; which can be especially difficult for a single parent to provide. However, that doesn’t mean that single parents are not perfectly capable of raising happy children, who just happen to have a disability. Here are a few tips to help you do it:
Do Your Own Research
Doctors do their best to explain your child’s condition to you, but they typically use a lot of jargon that is hard to understand. They also have only a limited amount of time to go over everything with you. To get a full grasp on what is going on with your child and how to best deal with their situation, do you own research about their disability. Find out how it works and what kind of support they need. The more you know about their condition, the more prepared you will feel.
Give Them the Opportunity to Express Their Desires
Giving your child a bit of autonomy will help them feel more independent. Even children with special needs want to feel as though they can do things on their own. Depending on their disability, you can give them a say in things; like, what they wear that day or even aspects of their treatment. You don’t always have to give in to their desires, but knowing they can at least express their opinion will be increasingly important as they get older.
Support a Reasonable Amount of Risk-Taking
Your desire to protect them is completely justified, but encourage them to take appropriate risks. This is true even for parents of children without special needs. Risk-taking is important in helping children learn their boundaries and how to be resilient. You will have to be the judge on what situations are ideal for risk-taking, but you can always consult their doctor if you are uncomfortable or unsure when making these decisions.
Take Charge of Their Education
As important as an education is, it can be difficult for children with special needs. Not every school offers programs for disabled children so you may have to do some searching. Don’t just assume that a school has the resources you child needs. Ask them what kind of accommodations they have for children with the type of disability your child has, and choose the school that best fits your child’s needs. 
Seek Out Resources That May Be Available
There is a fair amount of assistance for parents of children with special needs; both monetary and otherwise. The right care can get pricey, and most parents can use all the help they can get. If they are eligible for Social Security Benefits For Children, apply. This program can help you with the extra expenses involved in caring for your child. You can find more information here. But, it’s important for parents of children with special needs to get emotional support for themselves as well. Whether you join support groups like the ones listed in “Parenting Children With Special Needs” magazine’s resource guide, or simply connecting with the parents of other special needs children at your child’s school, this type of support is vital.

Don’t Define Your Child By Their Disability
This is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Make sure to highlight their talents and abilities. Staying positive about their qualities will help them do the same. Celebrate every triumph and don’t focus too much of their mistakes. If you don’t define them by their disability, they won’t either.
There are many more things you can do you help your child with special needs, but these are by far the most important. You don’t have to be a perfect parent to be a great parent. No parent can do everything right, and no one expects you to. Be proud of all of the work you are doing and confident your ability to do it.

By: Alecia Stanton

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