Around 2.8 million children in the US have a special need, with the number of kids diagnosed with a disability rising significantly over a 10-year period. If your child has just been diagnosed with a disability, you may initially be concerned as to how to provide the very best care for them. As time progresses, your research base expands, and you begin to talk to professionals, however, you soon discover that you can play such an important role in helping your child thrive. Keep the following considerations in mind when creating your strategy for your child’s long-term health and wellbeing.
Seeking Legal Advice
In some cases, seeking legal advice promptly after diagnosis is key—for instance, if your child’s condition results from medical malpractice. For instance, around 20% of cerebral palsy (CP) cases are caused by a lack of oxygen during the birthing process and many cases are caused by medical negligence or malpractice. If your child is entitled to compensation, seeking legal advice is of the utmost importance, since treatment can be expensive. The CDC estimates, for instance, that raising a child with CP costs an average of $45,000 per year per family.
Being an Advocate for Your Child at School
Your child will be entitled to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at school under the Individuals With Disabilities Act. If your child can benefit more from learning from home, then online schooling may be an interesting option for them. This is because they can advance at their own pace and take more time on areas they find difficult. Choosing in-person or remote schooling is an individual matter that depends on your child’s specific circumstances. When it comes to education, it is important to be flexible and to be willing to change something that is not working. If you opt for in-school education, working as a team with your child’s teachers is vital. By encouraging them to communicate with you and letting them know the strategies that work best with your child (and learning about the strategies they use), you can cater your child’s educational opportunities to their needs in a much more proactive way.
Be Active in Your Local Community
Attend special education parent meetings in your local area. This will enable you to meet other parents and children and learn a host of useful information. Nobody like another parent can best advise you on treatments, schools, educational methods, therapies, and the like. Parents are a child’s most zealous advocate so parents are also likely to know the best professionals in your area too. When it comes to treatments and therapies, the health professional is of utmost importance. It simply isn’t the same to receive a standard therapy as it is to be treated by someone with a passion for what they do, an interest in novel treatments, and a willingness to personalize sessions to enable your child to achieve their best.
Millions of children have special needs in the US. If your child has just been diagnosed with a special need, be their best advocate from the start. Research into your child’s condition and seek legal advice if you think medical negligence was involved. Get to know your child’s teachers and have frequent meetings with them to discuss aspects such as your child’s IEP or strategies to adopt. Finally, be an active member in your local community, sharing your thoughts, views, and research with other parents—they will undoubtedly have plenty of information to share with you, too.