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Fostering Independence in Your Disabled Child

Fostering Independence in Your Disabled Child Seven in 10 adults with disabilities live with their parent(s) or guardians and only 17% live independently, compared to around 51% of adult children without disabilities. Moreover, less than half of parents of a child with a disability ‘strongly agree’ that their child will always have a place to live, compared to 75% of parents of adult children without a disability.
Despite the fact that many parents of disabled children worry about their child’s future, only 32% have taken steps to prepare for a future in which they may no longer be around to take care of their child. If you are such a parent, what steps can you take to ensure your child can live as independently as possible when they, in turn, become older adults?
Pursuing Your Legal Right
Planning for your child’s future can begin as soon as you receive a diagnosis. This is particularly true if, for instance, your child’s disability has been caused by medical negligence. In the case of some disorders (such as cerebral palsy), around 20% of cases are caused by a birth injury. Cerebral palsy (CP) can arise if the brain is severely oxygen-deprived or if head trauma is caused during birth. Oxygen deprivation is closely linked to complications such as spastic diplegia, which causes delayed developmental milestones, muscular stiffness, and unsteady movement.
All these symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to move and carry out tasks. If negligence has caused this or any other disorder, seeing a legal professional and obtaining due compensation will ensure your child has the funds they need to receive proper care and treatment throughout their lifetime. Fostering Independence in Your Disabled Child

Considering Psychotherapy

A child with disabilities can have big challenges that can, in turn, affect their mental health and wellbeing. A recent study in the journal JAMA Neurology, for instance, found that adults with cerebral palsy have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety than peers who do not have this condition. The risk is stronger in those who have CP but do not have an intellectual disability. These conditions can be triggered by factors such as a worsening of symptoms over time.
Psychotherapy can help your child develop positive coping behaviors from an early age. Parents and caregivers can also benefit from therapy, picking up emotional tools that can enable them to be role models for their children.
Making a Care Plan
It is important to make a care plan, which stipulates important information about your child that can be vital to know if there is an emergency and you are unable to care for your child. This plan should be shared with various persons—including family members, doctors, therapists, and teachers. It should include information such as special food requirements and therapies and approaches that have proven to be successful for your child.
Estate planning is also key. You can set up a trust fund for your child so they can receive benefits while maintaining any state or federal benefits they may be entitled to. You can also purchase a life insurance policy, which will provide income for your child in the future. You should also obtain financial advice. Strategies like opening a special tax-advantaged savings account may enable you to save money for your child without losing important benefits.
If you have a disabled child, it is never too early to start planning.
Start out by seeking legal advice if this can help your child obtain compensation. Doing so will ensure your child can access all the treatments and care they need. Give your child a helping hand with psychotherapy. This will help make them more resilient and teach them positive behaviors.
Finally, make a detailed care plan and plan for your child’s financial future.

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Image 2: United Nations on Flickr

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 16th February 2022.

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