How to support children with disabilities

How to support children with disabilities


iSpeech.org

Raising children is not always the most straightforward journey, and this can be made more complex when you’re caring for and supporting children with disabilities.

As a parent, you want your child to live their best life, regardless of the physical or mental infirmities they may be experiencing. While this takes plenty of time and commitment when you’re navigating the realities of a disability, it’s possible to help your child lead a healthy and happy life when you have the right support.

Here are a few ways you can make this journey an easier one for both of you.

Understand your child’s condition

The first step in supporting your child, or a child under your care, is to understand their condition and empathise with the challenges they impose on their daily lives.

As part of your research, take your child to a licensed health professional who can explain the medical specifics in detail so you can understand what they may be feeling. 

You should also look into things like:

  • What treatment options are available for your child’s condition
  • How the disability will affect their quality of life in the long run
  • What lifestyle and home modifications are required to support your child

In certain instances, a particular disability could have more than one diagnosis, so make sure you research multiple diagnoses to understand their condition better. 

Communicate with your child

Supporting your child becomes much easier when you create a safe and open space for communication.

If your child prefers non-verbal communication, find ways to understand them and help them understand you. Some children have their unique ways of interacting with the people around them, so observe the patterns your child resorts to when they want to tell you or someone else something. 

Connect with other disabled children and their families

A sense of community and kinships is critical for children and potentially more so if your child is grappling with a disability of their own.

While it’s important that your children interact with the wider community as closely as possible, they may find it comforting to relate to someone with the same experiences. Here, it may be helpful to connect with parents of disabled children and bring your kids together. 

This may also prove to be an important source of support for you as well. 

If you don’t know any families like this, try joining a support group for disabled children and their parents. These groups are generally formed with professionals who can give you more advice on your child’s condition and how to support them now and in the future.

Work closely with your child’s educational institution

If your child is a part of a traditional educational institution, work together with their educators to make sure that when your child is in school, they have a caregiver who understands them. 

By working with teachers and other support staff, they will find it easier to provide the unique support your child needs, including special programmes and classes.

A curated curriculum, for instance, will help your child enjoy social interactions with their peers, build meaningful relationships, learn important life skills and acquire a good education while having all their needs met in a safe environment.

Help your child discover their strengths

Sometimes, a child with a disability may feel inferior to their peers, which has a tremendous impact on their confidence and self-esteem.

While it’s important to be mindful of the limitations your child’s disability imposes on them and help them understand that, it’s also important to highlight their strengths and all the opportunities available to them. 

This is a crucial way of empowering them and helping them discover their sense of self when they’re very young.

The good news is that today, there’s plenty of activities including adaptive sports that are designed for children with disabilities. These programmes and pastimes help your child discover their strengths, engage with their peers, and build their confidence over time.

Speak to service providers who support children with disabilities and their families

In Australia, there are special services that are designed to help you give your child the care they need. These services introduce a sense of harmony between their needs and the needs of the rest of your family, ensuring that you and your loved ones are empowered to meet potential challenges head-on. 

Today, many of these services can even be funded by the NDIS, easing some of the financial stress you may have. To find out more about how this works and what it means for you, get in touch with a reputed service provider today. 

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