Lifestyle Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Being the parent of a child with special needs is challenging. It can bring unexpected stresses with spouses, siblings, and even within your own belief in your parenting abilities.
Raising a child is a huge and challenging responsibility.
When that child has intellectual or physical disabilities, the challenges can seem even greater.
A child’s disability may come with special educational needs or require specialized equipment or care. Many parents or carers of these children may need additional practical and emotional support to help to cope with their child’s demands.
Getting to know families in similar situations can provide an important support network, enabling parents and carers to share help and advice, as well as to lend an understanding ear when discussing the unique challenges of their situation. In this blog, we will cover various lifestyle tips for parents of children with disabilities that can be of great help.
Tips from Other Families like Yours
Ask for help. A few good places to start include:
- Pediatrician regarding referrals to specialists. Do as much research as possible about your child’s condition: the more you know, the more you will be able to help them.This initial research phase will help you speak with your child’s doctor who can explain what is happening with your child, as well as how you can help to support them at each stage of their development.You will come across support networks, professionals, and charities that can help to provide assistance and advice.
- This will give you information and access to the latest physical therapies suitable for your child’s condition, these can help to improve and maintain your child’s muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and motor skills.
- Child’s teacher for additional suggestions to help your child academically. Working together with the child’s education or childcare provider can be fundamental in ensuring your child receives the support they require.Having a close relationship with your child’s key worker, or teacher, allows you to provide them with appropriate updates.This way, they can tailor the curriculum to give your child the best opportunities in terms of exercises in team work, social integration, and relationship building, as well as the more traditional areas of literacy and math.
- Clergy, minister, counselor, or other special needs parents for personal support.
- Spouse, other parent, or co-parenting partner to brainstorm family solutions.
- Friends and family for possible additional care so you have some time for yourself.
What Other Parents Suggest
Socialize with Other Families
Socializing with families with children with similar disabilities can provide great emotional and practical support, allowing your child to interact with people they can relate to and build friendships and relationships.
This can help with their emotional development.
During your research you are likely to come across various groups and clubs that look to engage children with sports and hobbies, as well as offering different recreational activities in line with their interests.
Don’t be afraid to give these helpful tips a try. You may establish some strong friendships and develop a good support network as well as expose your child to other kids who share their lived experiences.
Consider Available Sports Teams
Every child has the right to enjoy the fun of playing sports.
Whether part of a team sport or enjoying an athletic activity geared for individuals, kids benefit from active pursuits.
Participating in an adaptive sport builds teamwork, confidence, and character. It can help strengthen the body as well as improve endurance, flexibility, reduce body fat, and increase lean mass and bone density.
Even more importantly, it can give special needs kids an outlet for socializing with other children with special needs and the opportunity to make new friends.
For more tips on How to Make an Easy Living for Family Members with Disabilities.
Tips for Managing Care with Other Children
It is understandable that much of your energy and effort to go to your child with special needs, especially with the extra doctor appointments, support specialists, and academic issues that can be a part of your child’s therapy.
Siblings of a special needs child might feel left out or less important. If this happens consider trying some of the tips below:
- Undivided attention for each child.
Even simple things like reading at bedtime or talks while driving to school can help. Taking the opportunity to spend quality time will make a difference.
- Engage in your child’s activities.
Having a sibling with a physical disability may make the non wheelchair user feel uncomfortable or unnecessary pressure.Ask them about a school project, volunteer to make snacks for their game this weekend, ask questions about the movie they saw with a friend.Your attention to the details in their day will matter.
- Include your children in the care of their sibling, as appropriate.
There will be days when they will want to help and others when they don’t. Both are understandable.Caring and dealing with difficult behavior in family members instills compassion in even the youngest children.
- Give your children information as they want it.
Some children accept their sibling “just as they are” and others want to know “why they use a wheel chair.” As in anything, children are curious and the more facts they have the better.
- Empower your family by accepting what is your “normal.”
Every family does things a little differently, yours included. A child who is in a wheelchair is still your child, they just have a different way of getting around, which is normal for your family.This lesson teaches other children acceptance, compassion, and respect for others who also may do things differently.
Consider Support Groups
Find a Support System
When you find others who also are walking your same path you discover coping strategies, new resources, and support from other parents who “get it.” You will also find out you aren’t the only parent who feels guilty about their child’s extra challenges or frustrated because of how difficult it is at times.
“It takes a village” goes for more than typical child-rearing.
Joining a family or parent support group for developmental disabilities can help share experiences, frustrations, and successes. Plus, support groups are a way for families to practice self-care during what can often be a stressful experience. Just knowing you’re not the only one can make a large impact emotionally.
Foster Independence with Redman Power Chair
The Importance of Self-Initiated Mobility
Evidence demonstrates that children with disabilities using mobility devices became less dependent on verbal commands, more interested in their environment, and more likely to engage in peer interaction.
Providing a means for self-initiated mobility fosters a sense of independence and curiosity.
The longer a child is without independent mobility the more profoundly cognitive, social, language, and motor skills will be delayed.
Superior Functionality of a Redman Power Chair
Redman revolutionized the motorized wheelchair industry by introducing the first standing power wheelchair.
The Redman Chief 107-ZRx is the only mid-wheel standing chair that elevates, tilts, stands, and reclines. It has the narrowest footprint amongst all competitors – and can be fitted to adapt the child as they grow!
The Redman Power Chair gives mobility back to the men, women, and children who need it most. Learn more by continuing to explore our website.