Parenting Special Needs Children

Parenting Special Needs Children

Parenting Special Needs Children
Families of children with disabilities have periods of stress and hardship, especially when the diagnosis or prognosis is uncertain. Your child’s healthcare providers will work with you and your child on developing a management plan for his particular condition. With an established plan, your child’s healthcare team and teachers can help your child achieve his or her goals.

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  • 1 Answer
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from birth to 3 years old:

    Development
    • Respond to your child's need to build trust. Play with and enjoy your child.
    • Allow your child to develop at his or her own rate. If you have concerns or notice delays, you may contact your local Early Intervention Program.
    • Parents need short breaks. Breaks renew energy and help you enjoy your child more.
    Medical

    Start keeping records of:
    • immunizations
    • medical history
    • Early Intervention Program plans
    • developmental history
    Education
    • You are your child's first teacher.
    • Discuss referring your child to an Early Intervention Program or other developmental program with your child's healthcare provider or specialty clinic. Each state has these programs. Contact the department that handles health services or the office for children with special healthcare needs.
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from 3 to 5 years old:

    Development
    • Give your child chores he or she can do. This may include:
    Picking up toys
    Helping set the table
    Helping with laundry
    • Encourage your child to make decisions by offering choices.
    • Teach your child the natural outcomes of behaviors and choices.
    • Encourage activities that include children with and without special needs.
    • Ask, "What kind of job do you want to do when you grow up?"(There are no right answers!).
    • Teach your child about relationships. Teach your child about his or her body and personal space.
    Medical
    • Help your child understand his or her special healthcare needs.
    • Teach your child self-cares and general skills. Teach skills related to his or her special healthcare needs.
    • Help your child interact directly with doctors, nurses, therapists, and teachers.
    Education
    • Consider enrolling your child in a preschool or a Head Start program. Your local school district may have a program.
    • Contact your local school district the spring before your child will attend kindergarten. Talk to the school's staff about your child's special healthcare needs.
    • Encourage new activities like:
    Keyboarding or using a mouse with a computer
    Sports activities
    Turn-taking and sharing
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    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from 12 to 14 years old:

    Development
    • Discuss relationships, sexuality, online safety, and personal safety with your teen.
    • Explore and talk about possible career interests.
    • Help your teen recognize his or her strengths and skills. Encourage independence!
    • Actively involve your teen in family chores.
    • Encourage hobbies and a variety of recreational activities.
    • Encourage friendships.
    • Help your teen identify and interact with adult or older teen role models.
    • Encourage volunteer activities.
    • Talk about transportation awareness including:
      • Pre-driving skills like reading signs and understanding rules of the road
      • Reading bus route maps and schedules
    • Encourage and discuss how to apply for a job
    • Communicate with your teen as much as possible.
    Medical
    • Ask your teen what he or she knows about his or her special healthcare needs. Fill in gaps in understanding.
    • Support your child and have him or her practice self-care skills. Support your child's independent skills related to his or her special needs.
    Education
    • If your teen has a health plan, a 504 Health Plan or an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) encourage him or her to participate in the planning meetings and implementation.
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    The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from 15 to 18 years old:

    Development
    • Help your teen identify his or her strengths and interests.
    • Explore support groups, if your teen is interested.
    • Help your teen prepare for independent living including household tasks, budgeting, and shopping.
    • Explore recreation and leisure opportunities.
    • Check out assistive technology and computer resources.
    • Help your teen get key documents such as a driver's license or ID card, birth certificate, and Social Security card.
    • Explore living options (independent, assisted, dependent, with family or friends, a group home, or skilled nursing facility).
    Medical
    • Encourage your teen to take responsibility for his or her medical needs.
    • Teach your teen how to keep a record of his or her medical history.
    • Begin to explore future healthcare needs like obtaining insurance and finding an adult healthcare provider.
    • With your teen, check eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the month he or she turns 18 (At age 18, the teen's financial resources are evaluated, not the parents' or guardian's).
    Education
    • Talk with your teen about life plans after high school.
    • Explore job support or training at vocational or technical schools, or colleges or universities.
    • Contact the school's disability center to discuss available and proper accommodations for your teen.
  • 1 Answer
    A
    A Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of
    The following are suggestions on how you can support the development of your child with special needs from 18 to 21 years old:

    Development
    • Be a resource for your young adult.
    • Encourage your young adult to join in groups or activities relevant to his or her special healthcare needs and interests. This may include:
    • Support groups
    Mentoring opportunities
    Online communities
    Community activities
    Social opportunities
    • Young adults may register to vote! Contact your county clerk for more information.
    Medical
    • Continue moving medical care to an adult healthcare provider. Find a healthcare provider who meets your adult child's needs.
    • Once your child is an adult, parents may only access medical information with the child's permission. Some parents need to obtain legal guardianship for their adult-age, special needs child.
    Education
    • Encourage your young adult to find out about the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation services.
    • Some young adults may continue to receive school-based services from their local school district through their 21st year.
    • If your young adult plans to attend college, encourage them to contact student services for any needed accommodations.
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    A , Administration, answered

    Many of us imagine that raising a child with a disability is much harder, more costly in dollars and emotion, and much less rewarding personally than raising a child who doesn't have a disability. We fear that our marriage will break up under the strain, or that we won't have the money for medical care or special equipment, and that our other children will be neglected because of the particular needs of the child with the disability.

    These are understandable concerns. You will need to get information from knowledgeable people - such as genetic counselors and parent/advocacy groups - to help you think about these realities. The community of people with disabilities and their families is generally better than health care professionals at telling you what life is really like.

    Families of children with disabilities have periods of stress and hardship, especially when the diagnosis or prognosis is uncertain. Yet recent research has found that families raising children with disabilities are much more like other families than they are different. Studies conclude that families also have more periods of going about ordinary life and figuring out ways to adapt to their child's disability than they do periods of stress and hardship. All families everywhere must adapt to features of each person in the household, with or without disabilities.

    All parents face the challenges of getting enough emotional and practical support from family and friends, taking enough breaks from child raising to pursue other parts of their lives, and having the money, the time, and the social situation to make parenting more joyful than it is exhausting. If a parent cannot find funding or services to help accommodate a child's disability, the stresses and struggles of child raising will be compounded.

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    Baby Week Shorts: Special Needs Siblings
    Siblings of a special-needs child often feel neglected and even envious of their disadvantaged brother of sister. Learn techniques to get them involved in the care of their sibling in this video from Discovery Health.






  • 1 Answer
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    Baby Week Shorts: Special Needs in School
    Schools now offer several options for children with special needs. Dr. Sharon Ramey gives advice on making the right choice for your child in this video from Discovery Health.

     
  • 1 Answer
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    Your child may need extra help for personal physical cares in regular education classes or in special education classes. A written Individualized Health Care Plan that identifies your child's specific health needs and the health care actions that must be scheduled during school is developed by the school nurse, your family, and the school team. Examples of accommodations that may be appropriate are time during the school day to rest or take medications, unlimited access to the rest room, or a shorter school day. It is important that you help educate the school personnel about your child's specific needs.

    In addition, some students qualify for other specific accommodations in their classrooms, such as larger print worksheets. A written plan for such accommodations in regular education is called a "504" Plan. A written plan for special education services is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for health-related reasons. You may request an evaluation of your child for special services with your child's teacher, school counselor, or principal.

    To determine services, school personnel will complete an assessment and a thorough review of your child's medical, developmental, and school history. You are an important part of the team. You should be prepared to present information about your child's medical condition and functional capabilities. When the assessment is complete, the school personnel will meet with you to discuss services.

    You may also put a plan in place to cover emergency medical needs at school. Place emergency phone numbers for you and your child's doctors on file at the school.
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    Infants and young children under the age of three with special health care needs may receive community-based services from state early intervention programs. Children ages 3-5 may qualify for services from local school districts. These services help with language development, physical and cognitive skills, social skills, and adaptive strategies. Learning skills early will help your child be ready for kindergarten.