Almost 15% of people in America aged five or older have some type of disability. Among children, some of the most common disabilities include autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and epilepsy. Sometimes, disabilities can be complex – meaning they require significant support on a daily basis. If your child has just been diagnosed with a disability, it may be overwhelming at the start, but as you grow in confidence and you gain more knowledge on your child’s needs, you can start concentrating on helping them to achieve the most they can. The following tips might be useful.
Receiving Immediate Support After Diagnosis
Many parents find it reassuring to speak to other parents who have children with the same disability as their child. Other parents can provide not only emotional support, but also practical advice, tips and information on successful therapies, recommended health professionals, and free resources available. As stated by the Cerebral Palsy Family Network, online information can also help parents with everything from standard and alternative therapies to life care plans, legal advocates, and the like. In the case of cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence, it is important to be aware of your legal rights, since treatments such as stem cell therapy can be useful, and having the economic resources required by this and other treatments can help your child progress.
Receiving Financial Support
In the U.S., supplemental security income (SSI, a social security benefit) is the only type of federal income allocated to disabled children. In cases in which a sole parent has to care for a child 24/7, it can be a way to keep a family afloat financially. In order to receive SSI, you will have to prove that your child has “marked and severe functional limitations.” Conditions that tend to qualify for SSI include Down Syndrome, autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disability. Medicaid, meanwhile, covers many services required by children with special needs. Tax credits can be obtained when you deduct unreimbursed medical expenses when you are filing your yearly income tax. You can also look into grants for parents with children with disabilities. These include the Autism Cares Today SOS Program, Bens’ Fund (for families with a child with autism), and Parker’s Purpose Foundation Assistance for families with minors with a life-altering disability that has encountered unforeseen medical expenses.
Emotional Support Matters
Not all children with disabilities are sad or anxious, but some may experience a time of emotional struggle. Parents can work to overcome emotional issues by talking to teachers so they understand how your child’s disability can affect them emotionally, and by finding a good learning environment for their child. They can also help to make their child feel more empowered by encouraging talents – be it in sport, music, art, or indeed any activity that makes a child feel accomplished and confident.
When your child is first diagnosed with a disability, you may wonder where to start. A good idea is to talk first to your child’s medical team for suggestions on treatments, networks, and the like. Researching on your own will also reveal interesting forums and communities you can join to meet other parents who can guide you as you take your first steps. It is also important to find out what (if any) financial aid you may be entitled to. Finally, be aware of your child’s emotional needs, encouraging them to shine in areas they are naturally drawn to.