Raising a child has always been known as an immense and challenging responsibility. You’ll need to look out for their health and overall wellbeing from the very beginning up until they’re old enough to take care of their own.
But when it comes to raising a child with an intellectual or physical disability, the challenges may be even greater. Children with disabilities may require special equipment, specific educational needs, and most importantly, emotional support.
Caring for your child with a disability may be challenging, but it can also be rewarding and fulfilling at the same time. You get to witness their every moment in life while, at the same time, watch them bravely fight the medical condition they’re in.
And as expected, you’re also bound to experience some twists and turns when looking after them.
But, just like other forms of parenting, no rulebook or manual can help you raise your child perfectly because, after all, there’s no such thing as perfect parenting.
However, some tips can help you stay on track with your child’s needs, and as well as your own. For your guide, here are five tips to remember when raising a child with a disability.
1. Know Their Condition
Learning everything about your child’s medical condition can significantly help you determine their unique needs and requirements that can help with their growth and development.
For instance, if your child is diagnosed with autism, you may need child developmental services to help your child strengthen their social communication skills.
Aside from identifying their needs, knowing their condition will also help you know what to expect regarding possible medical complications.
For instance, if you’re taking care of an autistic child, you’ll need to prepare yourself in case the child may suddenly experience eating problems, gastrointestinal difficulties, seizures, and sleeplessness.
Being aware of these situations will help you look after your child whenever they’re in school, at home, or in a doctor’s office.
2. Teach Them To Be Independent
While it’s true that your child will need you most of the time, that doesn’t mean you can’t foster independence. Instead of just wondering if they will ever live independently in the future, it’s better to teach them to be independent at home, from a young age.
You can start small by teaching them to do easy chores around the house, such as cleaning the dishes, wiping the tables, or doing their laundry. Letting them experience doing things independently can effectively boost their self-confidence and motivate them to seek out their own goals and successes in the future.
Moreover, you can also take your child with you in riding public transportations or walking around the parks. Doing this regularly will help your child become accustomed to crowded areas and make them feel more comfortable when exposed outdoors.
3. Motivate Them To Pursue Education
School is hard for everyone, especially for children with special needs. Thus, you must keep on motivating them to pursue education by being involved yourself.
Instead of just leaving your child with piles of homework or assignment, you can start homeschooling your child, teach them to become creative, and have a one-on-one engagement about classroom topics.
Doing this will show your child how much education means so much to you, therefore influencing them to follow your example.
4. Let Your Child Participate In Group Activities
Perhaps you’ve let your child have their own playtime at home. But aside from letting them play by themselves indoors, it’s also essential that you let them join in group activities and other social sports.
For instance, you can let your child participate in camping trips, sports, art clubs, and other social activities to help develop their confidence and help them make some lasting friendships with other kids they meet.
Being able to socialize with other people is a fundamental skill needed in every social setting. Seeing your child work well with groups can tell you that your child is confident and responsible enough to handle social situations on their own.
5. Let Yourself Recuperate
Aside from dedicating yourself to raising your child and meeting their special needs, it’s also crucial that you don’t lose track of your own needs. Keep in mind that to take care of your child, you also need to be physically and mentally fit.
So instead of isolating yourself from other parents or your old friends, let yourself recuperate every once in a while.
For instance, while you’re letting your child join group activities with the other kids, you can use this time to interact with the other parents you meet in the park. Another option is you can sign yourself up for support groups.
There are several families or parental support groups for developmental disabilities in which you can participate and meet other parents who are also going through the same challenges as you.
Sharing your frustrations, experiences, and successes with other parents who can understand you can be a good relief. So, find people to vent and relate to, and never let yourself be alienated.
Raising a child will never be easy, especially if your child has disabilities. But despite these unique challenges you go through, remember that you’re still a parent.
So, while you function as your child’s caregiver, home therapist, pharmaceutical dispensary, or medical transporter, don’t forget that at the end of the day, the person your child needs the most is your parental love and care.
So, remember these tips and take time to cherish and appreciate your child in ways that only a parent can do.