Seven Tips for Raising a Disabled Child
Having a child who is disabled can definitely be hard sometimes but we love them nonetheless and always want to help them get the most out of life. The key is often just being aware of the little things and making sure your child always has a way being involved in the daily activities of the family whether it is doing chores or playing out in the yard. The key to making a disabled child feel loved is inclusion, not the modifications you implement for them. Here are some tips for caring for a disabled child while still making them feel loved and just as capable as anyone.
Common Ground with Siblings
Make sure that if you have multiple children they often engage in an activity they can all do together. A child with an extreme case of polio or another disability that requires a walking aid could be the umpire if the kids want to play baseball, younger kids could all draw pictures and color together, or even play a video game.
Be Mindful of their Feelings on Special Treatment
When kids are young they never want to do chores but as they get older (around 12-13) they may start to feel inadequate if told to stay out of the way or not asked to help out when the whole family is busy cleaning. As a child ages they need to feel a sense of belonging and therefore it important to include them and let them show the family what they ARE capable of. Not for the family’s sake but for their own.
It is OK to be Naggy About Meds
If your child has any prescribed meds, be sure they are taking them and taking the proper doses. Be mindful of what kind of friends they hang around as well in case they do something foolish in attempting to be cool like letting others sample pain meds. Keep an eye on them and make sure they and only they are using prescriptions properly.
Check their Mobility Equipment Yourself from Time to Time
Those who grew up with a sibling that never complained about anything know that if your disabled brother or sister has something wrong with their wheel chair or rollator, they will sometimes try and tough it out without telling anyone. They’ll do this in an attempt to show they are more capable and independent than everyone thinks. It will work until a wheel breaks on the sidewalk and they tip over into the street or a walker leg gives out and they fall. Remember, growing up can be difficult for any kid and those disabled suffer from the same insecurities as anyone.
Make Sure Your House is Comfortable for Them to Get Around
If they have to get up ten flights of stairs to get to their room, they probably won’t be so eager to come home or leave their room once comfortable. Install hand rails or invest in a stair lift so that your child can get around easier. These alternatives are usually cheaper than relocating to a one-story house.
Be Patient and Make Sure Others do for Special Occasions
You’d be amazed how upset a child will get if by the time he gets downstairs to open presents on Christmas morning all of his siblings have opened theirs. Again, the best way to love them is to make sure they are included in every little thing they physically can participate in, especially family activities. Have them and their friends or siblings trick-or-treat each house together and let them experience the fun moments with the other kids.
Don’t be Afraid to Discipline Them
It’s a very sad thing to see people who are legitimately disabled do terrible things like steal or vandalize someone else’s things just because they think their punishment will be less severe because of their situation. Put them in time out when they are young and ground them from going out when they are older. Be fair but firm and let them know that they neither below nor above anyone else when it comes to right and wrong.