Parenting a child with a disability can be a real challenge. Here are a few tips for coping more easily when looking after a disabled child.
Adopt routines – but know when to shake things up
Routines can often be necessary when caring for disabled children – especially those with severe disabilities. Start establishing routines in your child’s life while they are young. Certain routines may start to get dull after years and years of doing them – don’t be afraid of switching these up for your own sanity, providing that it doesn’t affect the care you’re giving to your child.
Know what government support you’re entitled to
As the parent of a child with a disability, you are likely to be entitled to a number of government benefits. This could include carer’s allowance, council tax reduction, income support and a range of other grants and bursaries. Make sure that you’re signing up to these benefits – having this financial support could help you to afford specialist care, equipment and other resources, or could allow you to cut down on work hours.
Look into other perks available to children with disabilities
When it comes to planning days out, there could be ways of skipping queues and securing discounts if you have a child with a registered disability. By taking advantage of these perks, you can make the most of family days out. Similarly, you may find that there are discounts out there for services ranging from gym memberships to railcards. This could help to make everyday life less expensive in certain cases.
Don’t feel ashamed to hire a helping hand
Parenting a disabled child – especially one with severe disabilities – can be a full time job. Consider looking into carer services to help take some of the load off. There are many paid services and volunteers out there willing to support people with a disability. You may also be able to seek help from friends and family (especially if it’s a relatively mild disability).
Connect with other parents of disabled children
When talking to parents of able-bodied children, you may find that you struggle to get on the same wavelength sometimes. It’s worth befriending fellow parents of children with a similar disability who you can share stories and tips with. There may be support groups that you can join to find these types of people. Even online forums can be useful.
Make time for yourself
You can’t spend all of your time caring for someone else – you deserve your free time to relax, socialise and focus on personal goals. Schedule time each week to focus on yourself. This could be time spent de-stressing with a hot bath, hanging out with friends or taking part in hobbies. In the case of severe disabilities, you may even want to schedule periods of respite. Don’t feel that it is selfish to do this – if you’re not looking after yourself, you could experience burnout and then you won’t be able to look after your child.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.