You might learn that your child has a disability after birth, an illness, an accident, or even while your child is in the developing stages of childhood. As a parent, you may have many different emotions regarding your child’s disability. You may feel grief, anger, shock, and even sadness—it is difficult for any parent to think about his or her child suffering in any way.
Understanding Your Child’s Needs
Many parents feel powerless and stressed when facing a future of unknowns. The first step to coping with your child’s disability is acceptance. It is crucial that you understand your child’s special needs, condition, and care. Knowledge is empowering, and the more information you have, the less likely you will feel overwhelmed by the present and future. The more information you seek out, the more assistance you will have to plan, guide, and advocate for your child.
Helping Your Child Manage His Disability
The most important thing you can do for your child to help him cope with this life-altering condition is to communicate with him. Always remember to convey only age-appropriate information regarding your child’s condition, care, and future prospects. As your child gets older, his ability to understand his condition and needs will increase. Below we have compiled a list of suggestions to reduce the negative impact your child’s disability may have on him.
- Listen to your child about his fears, frustrations, and sadness.
- Communicate about the condition, care, and future.
- Explain each process that your child will go through, such as what will happen in an upcoming medical appointment.
- Encourage your child to spend time with other children who have similar conditions.
- Help your child feel comfortable about his condition by talking about it freely—without becoming upset or emotional.
- Emphasize his strengths so that he feels good about himself and what he is capable of.
- Rehearse possible situations that may seem frightening to your child.
- Praise your child for accomplishments even when they are small in nature.
- Be supportive.
Your child needs to know that you are comfortable with his condition so that he may feel relaxed and at ease. A skilled pediatrician, who can address all of your concerns, will help a great deal. When choosing a pediatrician, select one who is caring, supportive, knowledgeable, and available. You may have many questions, and you may need a great deal of assistance helping your child handle his circumstances.
How We Can Help
Your child may require a great deal of care, medical attention, and special accommodations due to his disability. This can be a significant financial hardship for families—especially those trying to get by with little or no financial resources. However, some severely disabled children may qualify for benefit payments under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
SSI is a needs-based program. In order to qualify, your child will need to meet certain guidelines established by the Social Security Administration. Below we have assembled a list of some of the types of conditions that may qualify a disabled child for SSI benefits:
- Down syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Severe intellectual disability
If you are planning to apply for SSI benefits for your child, or you are having trouble with the application process, please contact our office at (717) 888-8888 and speak with a Lancaster Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm today. We are here to help you.