4 Preparations to Make When Expecting a Child With Disabilities
Contributed by Lucy Reed
Bringing a new child into your family is a special event worthy of celebration. You have much to be excited about as a parent-to-be, but the responsibility of parenthood can be stressful as well. If you are expecting a child with an intellectual or developmental disability, you might feel as though you are unprepared for the unique challenges ahead. Knowing how to handle some potential pressure points ahead of time will help you feel ready for the arrival of your newest family member.
- Prioritize Accessibility at Home
The most important thing for any child is to have a comfortable and accommodating home. For your child with disabilities, this means prioritizing safety and accessibility. Some ways that you can prepare your home with your child in mind might include:
- Installing a ramp at your home's entrance
- Ensuring cabinets, furniture, and toilets are reachable
- Widening door frames for easy passage
If your current home is not suitable for a child with disabilities, you might opt for a new home rather than making intensive renovations. There are online resources that can be used to search for accessible homes in your area, as well as help you do your due diligence on certain housing markets.
- Expect Additional Expenses
In addition to any home renovations that may be necessary, there are other additional expenses to be aware of when expecting a child with disabilities. Frequent medical care or hospital stays should not come as a surprise. Another cost may come in the form of missing work and therefore losing income while giving your child the care they need.
You can start planning for these extra costs now by building a new budgeting strategy. Your budget should allow enough flexibility in your finances to account for emergencies that may arise throughout your child's early years.
- Adjust Your Insurance Plan
Many parents of children with disabilities are unsure if they should make changes to their insurance situation. Of particular importance is your life insurance plan, which can serve to provide the financial support your child needs when you are no longer around. A permanent life insurance policy could be the best option for your peace of mind, as it will pay out no matter when you pass. This is in contrast to a term life insurance policy, which will expire after a set number of years.
- Make Time for Personal Wellness
You might feel an obligation to dedicate absolutely all of your time and attention to caring for your child with a disability. This can quickly lead to parental burnout, which stands to harm yourself and your family in the long run. It is extremely important to consider your own health and mental well-being.
Even parents need time to themselves, so consider building a self-care routine that includes any hobbies or stress relief activities you enjoy. Tap into your support network of friends and family when you need a much-deserved break from your responsibilities. Certain nonprofit organizations like Care Warriors Inc. provide care and tutoring services for both children and adults with disabilities.
Experts estimate that around 240 million children around the world have a disability. This large number shows that you are not alone in your efforts to care for a disadvantaged child. However, within that statistic are a large number of kids who do not receive the type of help they need. You can help ensure a bright future for your child by making thoughtful preparations today.