How To Help Your Family Embrace Your Child’s Disability
Hearing those words “your child may have some disabilities as they grow up” or “your child may have special challenges as they grow older”, is just not what parents want to hear when their child is first born, I know I heard something similar when my son was born!
Disabilities can be caused by problems associated during pregnancy or birth, but they may also be due to injuries. When your child is disabled it’s not uncommon for the parents to feel they’ve done something wrong. You may be asking how can your family embrace your child’s disability? The following are some ideas to help parents learn how to handle the changes that lie ahead for them and love that child, while trying to learn all you can about your child’s disability.
Once a couple finds out their child has a disability their life often comes to a screeching halt. Learning this news is overwhelming, the feelings of guilt start messing with your heads, you start to wonder how will we care for this fragile child, and you may even wonder what will people say.
What determines if your child has a disability? According to medical dictionaries, a disability is a physical or mental impairment which limits one or more senses or activities required to live. This might include lack of hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, learning or caring for oneself.
In many cases, a family will experience added stress both financially and emotionally, as well as a sense of loss for the child could have been.
Parents need to:
- Learn as much as you can about your child’s disability. Do your research! Ask questions.
- You may want to find other families that have a child with the same or similar disability. Families who have already been where your family currently is, can offer support and knowledge you may not be able to learn another way.
- Accept that your family will go through many emotions. You may blame yourself, deny the disability, or become depressed, almost experiencing the same emotions as you would with a death.
- Be sure to communicate with one another. Don’t keep your emotions or frustrations to yourself, encourage communication.
- If you have other children, do everything you can to help them understand what’s happening.
- Don’t forget that your other children need you.
- Work together as a team. Other siblings may have to take on some added responsibilities like making dinner, cleaning the house maybe doing laundry to help you to spend more time at the hospital or doctors appointments, basically to care for your child with special needs.
- Ask for help! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out people who can help you, whether they are medical professionals, mental health professionals, or families who have gone through this before you. Family counseling may help the family stay together rather than fall apart after you learn of your child’s disability. Your child’s doctor will be able to provide you with support groups or you may find out about them by doing research on the internet.
What’s most important to realize after learning of the disability, is learning how to embrace your child’s disability as a family. Everyone will need to chip in to care for the disabled child. And, if you have a support system of family, friends, and families who also have children with the same disability, you should be able to do more than survive; your family should be able to thrive!
The emotional and physical stress of having a disabled child can be devastating if you don’t have a support network to help you, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Just keep your faith that things will work out if you believe!