The truth is parenting is incredibly hard. Parenting a disabled child, however, is another level of hard because the stages in life that other kids pass fast, your child can stay there for years. Besides the challenges, a parent may not be sure what to do with the child unless they get professionals to guide them. If you are a parent to a disabled child, here are eight things you must know.
1. Children with disabilities have a say.
For most people and especially parents whose disabled kids don’t talk, it is easy to just make decisions for them. Unfortunately, this can make the child feel ignored and miserable causing them to throw tantrums or get depressed. Even if the child cannot talk, there are ways they can express themselves such as actions or writing. Before making any decision for your child be it meals, school, or games make a point to ask them what they want first.
2. Disabled kids need discipline too.
The life of a disabled child is full of challenges and limitations. Whenever such a child does something wrong, it can be hard for a parent to discipline them in fear of adding to their stress. Some parents fear that maybe the child won’t be able to do what they are required to do so they stop trying altogether. However, disciplining a child is a healthy way of expressing love and care towards a child and the only way to mold that child into a complete human being. Though a disabled child may not react to discipline the same way as a normal child would, it is still important to find ways to discipline them consistently and set boundaries. Disabled kids are extremely intelligent, and they can be manipulative if allowed so as a parent it’s crucial to discipline them with love and care.
3. The child is talented.
There are more than a few forms of disabilities in the world, and they are all different. However, there is only one thing that is common with all those kids; impeccable talent. Somehow, all disabled kids have one or more talents, and it’s your job to find and nurture it if it’s not apparent.
4. Therapy is critical.
Whether your child is blind, deaf or has ADHD, polio, cerebral palsy or any other condition, they can always get better with enough therapy. Some specialized doctors know how to do physical therapy to improve motor skills, speech therapy and other exercises that make the child confident and able to function appropriately and independently in this world. Do not keep them in the house and lose hope for them because they need to live a full life and be with friends like ordinary people.
5. Don’t lose yourself.
With the endless list of things you need to do for a disabled child every day and the constant attention they require it is understandable that your entire life becomes about your child. However, that is not healthy, and your child wouldn’t want that. In the middle of all that, find someone to help you take care of the child so you can take care of yourself. Do things that you enjoy once in a while such as seeing friends, going to the spa, reading, and dancing.
6. Kids with disabilities have bright futures.
As highlighted earlier, disabled children are usually very talented and intelligent. In fact, some of the most famous people like Alexander Graham and Albert Einstein had learning disabilities. Their creativity and out of the box thinking enables them to achieve much in life if only someone believes in them.
7. There are insensitive people in this world.
One of the hardest things to withstand as a parent is to watch your child being made fun of by other kids or adults. However, there is not much you can do about insensitive people and other parents who will be asking stupid questions and comments. The secret is to ignore them and have a sense of humor about everything.
8. It’s okay to ask for help.
If you have ever raised a child with a disability or who cries a lot, then you know it can be overwhelming. Sometimes, a disabled child goes from one level to another, and you may not understand how to deal with it. It is okay to ask for help when you are overwhelmed and when you are confused and scared.
Raising a child with a disability is challenging but also very rewarding. The child teaches you to appreciate what is important and to ignore things that don’t matter. The secret is only to understand and love them unconditionally.