What Challenges Face the Parents of a Child With a Disability?

Parenting any child can be challenging.

Giving birth to a child means opening yourself up to new hopes and dreams, but also new fears and worries. For the parents of a child with a disability, these challenges are compounded.

Being the parent of a special needs child can be a rough journey that will take you to dark places. It can also be a joyful experience that will make you realize you are stronger than you realized. Whether or not you are able to adapt will depend on three things:

  • The quality of your relationships and support system
  • Whether or not you are able to take time out for yourself, your partner, and your other children
  • Whether or not you are able to access the financial resources you may need

If your child has been diagnosed with a disability you probably have many questions about what the future holds. Keep reading to learn more about the five challenges you may face.

Legal Issues

When something goes wrong before, during, or after birth, parents can end up involved in a lawsuit.

While this can be stressful, it will also be a huge relief when it’s over. The causes of disabilities that are caused by medical negligence can include:

  • Medical professionals’ mistakes
  • Overworked staff
  • Inadequate training
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Mismanagement of labor

Medical professionals have a duty of care to pregnant women and their infants.

If your doctor breached that duty, visit New Jersey Cerebral Palsy Lawyer page to learn more about how an attorney can help you move forward.

Financial Difficulties

One study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined that the cost of raising a typical child until adulthood is approximately $240,000.

That’s roughly $13,333 per year for 18 years. Parents of disabled children may have to spend quadruple that amount, and many have to give up their jobs or cut back on their hours during this time.

Luckily, there are programs available that are designed to help.

Visit Debt.org to learn more about financial help for special needs families. There are many different options, from SSI disability to paid family caregiving to privately funded organizations.

Emotional Problems

One 2010 study determined that autism moms have stress similar to combat soldiers.

That’s because they’re fighting a battle to make sure their children’s needs are met while trying to coordinate with therapists, special needs teachers, and medical professionals.

On top of being exhausted from trying to do it all, parents of disabled children may also be struggling with feelings of guilt, depression, and fear for the future. If you’re struggling to cope with your child’s disability, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and mental health professionals.

Relationship Issues

There is a lot of conflicting information out there about how likely a couple is to divorce if they have a special needs child. Some studies suggest a worst-case scenario while others point to little if any differences. Even in families with disabled kids where the parents stay together, you may still experience certain unique issues.

You may experience many struggles in your marriage while parenting kids with disabilities.

Sometimes one parent will realize something is not quite right with their child while the other parent is not yet able to admit it. When this happens, it can leave the parent who is not in denial hurt, frustrated, and unable to seek diagnosis and treatment for their child.

Another common issue is the parent who is the main caregiver not having time for their spouse because their sole focus in on their child’s care. Sometimes that parent may also be left on their own while their spouse throws themselves into their job so they don’t have to deal with it.

You may experience all of the aforementioned issues, some of them, or none of them (which isn’t likely). No matter what happens, just know that like most other things in life, this too shall pass. Your child’s disability may not go away, but in most cases, it will get easier to manage over time.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.

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