For Families In Panic Or Calm, Dealing With Kids Sick Or Well

Becoming a Parent When You Live with Disability

Preparation for Parenting – author Maria Cannon.

Nearly one in every five lives with a disability of some sort. About 56.7 million people in the U.S. or 19 percent of the population. Yet as common as they are, society still doubts the competence of people with disabilities. Disablism is a real problem in the workforce, in schools, in policy, and — in some cases — in family life. 

Parent holding child's hand

There are many ways to parent a child

However, there is a good argument that parents with disabilities are more capable when it comes to the challenges children present. Living with a disability also teaches a person patience and persistence — two qualities good parents need. Furthermore, when you live with a disability, you are used to making compromises and modifying environments and experiences to create accessibility.

Here, we’ve highlighted some of the ways people with disabilities can prepare their lives and homes to make parenting simpler.Becoming a Parent When You Live with a Disability (1)


Saving for a Family

Statistics show that disabilities can be both a cause and a consequence of poverty.  The chances of having financial problems only increase with parenthood. In a formal survey, nearly four-fifths (79 percent) of parents with disabilities reported a need for some type of personal assistance with more than half (57 percent) reporting a need for help with parenting tasks. Yet only 10 percent of respondents use government-funded personal assistance services for parenting tasks. The majority (68 percent) of parents with disabilities get unpaid help from family or friends while an alarming 43 percent pay for extra assistance out of pocket.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to take advantage of every resource possible for your family’s well-being. Apply for government funded personal assistance services even if you think you can afford them on your own. Save your extra money for emergency medical services, higher education and other expenses that come up throughout parenthood.

Beyond applying for help through public programs, budgeting and responsibly spending your income is imperative for parents with disabilities. Creating a budget before you even have your child can help instill responsible habits from the get-go. Beyond organizing day-to-day expenses, create various savings accounts for things such as your child’s education, family medical expenses, vacations and retirement.

Girl blowing bubbles

Parenting is not always easy, but it’s so worth it for the joy shared. (Picture from Pexels)

 

Home Modifications for Parents with Disabilities

When it comes to raising a family, most parents truly under appreciate their mobility. It takes a lot of energy and function to keep up with kids. As a parent with a disability, this can be a bit challenging. Modifying your home to make it easier to get around can help as your children grow and become harder to keep up with.

  • Install grab bars in the bathroom to make it easier to get up when bathing your children in the tub.
  • Remove tripping hazards and furniture such as ottomans, coffee tables and other low profile items.
  • Label children’s food with textured tape or Braille labels to make meal preparation easier.
  • Keep fire extinguishers in easy access areas throughout the house.
  • Consider putting ramps over steps you may have trouble navigating when holding on to an infant or toddler.
  • Use non-slip rugs and mats throughout the house.
  • Establish a changing area with a table that is at the perfect height for access.
  • Consider soft structured baby carriers to ease lifting.
  • Install audio-controlled on and off switches for lights and other electronics.
  • Use video-enabled baby monitors to keep an eye on your children when in another room. Seeing a problem before you hear it gives you more time to get from one side of the house to the other, if needed.
Piggy bank

Start filling YOUR Piggy bank

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Since so many people live with disability, why is disablism still prevalent in society? Parents with disabilities often don’t get the assistance they need. It’s important to do everything in your power to provide for your children, so apply for personal assistance services even if you are hesitant. People with disabilities are also more likely to live in poverty, so start budgeting and saving to help with hard times. Beyond finances, you should  prepare your home by making it easier to navigate and safer for growing children.

 

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