Finding support for children with disabilities

Finding support for children with disabilities

Around 1 in 6, or 15 percent of children aged 3 through 17 years have some kind of developmental disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A person with a "disability" is one who has some limitation on what they can do physically, mentally, or in terms of participating in society.

In the past, there were few facilities to support families of with disabilities, and a lack of programs to help children to cope with school or in daily life.

Now, a wide range of assistance and resources are available. These can help minimize the impact of "being different" on education, career, and personal relationships.

Advocacy groups and researchers have made progress towards improving the life chances of people with disabilities around the world, and in ensuring equality.

Globally, there is still a long way to go, but in industrialized countries in particular, a number of barriers have been removed in the last few decades, and some progress has been achieved in ensuring equal rights for everyone, regardless of their ability.

Major institutions such as Unicef have helped to remove barriers with initiatives such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Common conditions

With support, children with special challenges are fulfilling their potential.

The Interfaith Children's Movement lists the following as some of the conditions that can affect children's performance in school and their capacity to cope with activities that most people take for granted:

  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Visual impairment
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Impaired hearing
  • Developmental delay
  • Down syndrome
  • Emotional disturbance
  • Epilepsy
  • Intellectual disability
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments
  • Spina bifida
  • Traumatic brain injury.

Many of these conditions may occur together. They may emerge at various stages of development. Parents are advised to be aware of unusual patterns of behavior and development, but to remember that children mature and develop at different paces.

Disabilities in children affect both the individual and their family. They can lead to frustration in educational progress, social interaction, and the ability to act independently.

Support systems can help children to learn, to grow, and to find help when necessary.

Problems that children may face

For some children, "being different" may be barely noticeable to others, but it can still affect their daily lives. Others may need constant care.

Children with learning and other difficulties may be bullied at school.

Some common issues that children face include communication problems, educational challenges, and social interaction.

A range of disabilities can lead to difficulty in expressing needs and wants. Hearing loss, speech difficulties, and problems with understand other people's communication styles can affect learning and social interaction.

A learning disorder can lead to frustration at school, and children may feel as if they cannot achieve as well as their peers. It may be hard to follow the lesson, and the child may appear distracted and uninterested. They may be considered disruptive, and this can lead to punishment.

Some children may need extra help in special classes or with teaching assistants. This can be embarrassing for some students. It is important that the school should be aware if a child faces a special challenge, as this can increase understanding and enable staff to adapt their approach.

Social interactions can be difficult. Children with disabilities are often associated with bullying and isolation. This can arise from issues of social stigma and control. In time, the child may need additional help to achieve independence.

Challenges for the family

If a child has difficulties, this will have an impact on the whole family. Creating a balance can be challenging.

Some of the major issues that parents face include finances, treating all siblings fairly, and taking time out for themselves.

Caring for a child with special needs can entail an additional financial burden. Parents may need to pay for adaptations to living accommodation, additional tutors, healthcare, and long-term care. The website offers practical advice on legal and financial questions.

When allotting chores to family members, it is important to ensure that everyone participates, but to their ability. In the same way, everyone must be expected to follow schedules, manage time, and take responsibility.

It can be hard to find time and space to "care for the carer." Maintaining a balance is crucial in every parent's life, but if a child has special needs, caring for them often needs extra time and attention.

Parents may experience guilt, stress, and fatigue. This can affect overall health, which will in turn have a negative impact on the family. It is important to share the task of caring, perhaps through organized respite times. Parents must take care not to neglect their own personal wellbeing.

Finding the right support system

Programs of community support are available for children, parents, and families. These programs help to raise awareness of the challenges faced, and to help families find appropriate support.

Information is available from health authorities and advocacy groups, on websites, at libraries, and in healthcare centers. Local support groups provide information about support and rights. They may organize fund-raising and social activities that can offer valuable relationships for children to meet others with similar issues, and a social outlet for parents.

Disabilities of all kinds are covered under many Civil Rights Acts. Understanding the rights of parents and children can lead to a better education, funding assistance and career advocacy.

A person with a disability and their family can obtain help in many areas, such as housing, long-term medical care, and social security benefits.

The comprehensive website clearly lays out the rights of people with disabilities and their families. It provides current information about benefits associated with disabilities, laws, standards, and other guidelines, as well as resources, such as a "Webinar on working with a mentor to find employment."

Areas covered include:

  • Benefits
  • Civil rights
  • Community life
  • Education
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Employment
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Technology
  • Transportation.

The Interfaith Children's Movement provides a number of useful links for parents and faith communities.

In addition, there are numerous associations that can help with specific issues. Understood, for example, provides help for children with a range of learning and attention issues, including simulations, so that people without the disability can have some idea of what it feels like.

Becoming familiar with the options available can help families to manage the challenges, and children to fulfill their potential.

Me and My Disabled Child - Part 4: Finding Support (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Medical practice