Parents with a Child with Disabilities

Ten Basic Rules

Parents with a child with disabilities often have a harder time and worry more than when raising typically developing children.

It takes more time, financial support and there are more emotional difficulties when raising a child with disabilities. It is unfortunate that parents worry, making the situation more difficult with excessive guilt. Below are ten rules that will help parents with a child with disabilities.

1. Accept your child as he/she is. Do not forget who they are because you are overwhelmed by the child’s disabilities. Do not focus on disabilities but focus on the abilities and talents, recognizing that your child is a well-rounded and independent individual. Get out from under your guilt, recognize the beauty of your child, and treat him or her as you treat other typically developing siblings.

2. Feel balanced with counseling. Emotional balance can be achieved with help from family, relatives, or other parents with a child with disabilities. However, do your best in your everyday life, pray and be confident because good mental health and balance for the family boosts the proper development of your child with disabilities.

3. Always study about your child’s disabilities. Read books and attend parent educational workshops to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the disabilities to build your ability to cope with difficulties and problems as your children grow.

4. Look for laws and systems to protect your child with disabilities. Research your child's educational rights in special education laws and find systems to help your child’s needs in education and related services. Study not only educational laws, but also social benefits, housing, transportation, labor and rehabilitation laws.

5. Provide opportunities for your child with disabilities to play and to study with typically developing children. This includes playmates with typically developing children at the elementary level as an opportunity for inclusion. This is helpful for your child’s social development.

6. Help your child experience the community. Visit public agencies, department stores, stores and libraries; and travel, play, and introduce hobbies so your child can meet and interact with other people. This will help him/her develop the ability to survive in society in adulthood. 7. Be a role model showing others how to interact appropriately with a person with disabilities. If parents treat their child with disabilities with love and respect, others will do the same.

8. Show what you expect from your child in interacting with others. Do not raise your voice or speak badly of others in front of your child with disabilities. Respect and be polite to others so your child will learn proper social behaviors.

9. Look for various ways to help your child with disabilities. Do not limit yourself to just one method such as religious prayer or hospital treatments, but combine them with other services such as education and various activities in the integrated community. Make plans with the help of professionals at schools and/or other service organizations.

10. Do not believe everything professionals tell you. Balance between the professional and parental perspectives. Professionals tend to underestimate special needs children in comparison to typically developing children. Parents must believe in and discover their child's potential because each child’s abilities and functions vary even among those with the similar disabilities. Also, parents must listen to the typically developing children who have a sibling with disabilities. They also need parental support and protection as they grow. Listen to their needs.