Caring for your disabled child at home can mean you are faced with a set of unique challenges and concerns. Depending on your child’s level of disability as well as age, it makes every aspect of parenting more difficult. Parents who are faced with this may experience a variety of physical, mental and emotional challenges.
For those who do choose to rise to the challenge and care for their children at home, whether their child is disabled mentally or physically, there are home care options you may have access to and should consider. We’ll discuss a few of these options and how to choose the best ones for your family’s needs.
What is home help?
When you have a disabled child or a child with special needs, there are many options that can help you care for your child within the comfort of your own home. Depending on where you live, there are associations and companies that provide different types of home help, depending on your child’s needs and medical condition. Your child’s disability may also open some options specific to their disability, as there are many special needs organizations dedicated to helping people with specific conditions and their families.
What are your child’s needs?
The first thing you need to establish before choosing home care is your child’s unique needs and limitations. The best way to do this is with the help of your doctor and any other health professionals who are involved in your child’s care. Not only can they detail exactly what help your child requires, both in the present and the future, they may also be able to access options you can’t.
With the help of these medical professionals, you can gather all the information available on how to help your child, whether that be with referrals to appropriate therapists or medical equipment. You can then move forward with finding in-home help with the right information.
What are your care expectations?
Being clear about what you want from home care is just as important as knowing what is available. If you want a caregiver who is specially trained, you will have to access different resources than if you just want someone to sit and entertain your child when you’re doing chores. You can also access specialized education services or even home help, so it’s best to know what you want before you start the tedious process of evaluating candidates.
What is available?
Resources to assist you and your disabled child may be limited by your location or by your financial resources. Make sure you educate yourself about all the programs available in your area, as well as financial support options applicable to your situation. Explore all programs and determine which is best for your child’s needs.
National organizations like Parent to Parent USA can provide emotional support for you by matching you with an experienced parent of a child with disabilities.
Evaluating the program
There are many elements you should be aware of before you decide on a disability program.
- Are they accredited? Most states have a government-run accreditation program that determines if the programs and facilities run to an acceptable standard.
- Ask about the staff training levels. Remember that no matter how pretty the facility or website might look, the members of staff are the ones who will be interacting with your child. Their training and attitude towards their work will determine your child’s experience.
- Does the program have professional connections to hospitals or other healthcare providers? If it does, this will usually mean it is well-respected and regulated.
Before you make your final decision, you need to assess some of the practical elements of the home care option you are evaluating. This includes:
- What is the cost?
- How long will your child and family need the service?
- How often will they come to your home?
- How much flexibility is there? If you need an extra day of help one week because of a family emergency, can you get the extra support easily?
- Does your child seem to be bonding well with the home care staff?
- And finally, can the home care provider get access to emergency services if something happens?
Learning to care for a disabled child at home requires a community. By accessing and carefully evaluating your in-home care options, you can give your child the best treatment and care possible, while still enjoying the time you have together.
Raising a disabled child does not have to be a burden. Instead, it can be an unexpected delight and an opportunity to become closer to your child and to the rest of your support network.