Being a parent is hard work – it’s a 24-hour job filled with trials and tribulations. Obstacles are inevitable, but for parents with disabilities, those obstacles can seem bigger and more common. The good news is that there is help for just about every obstacle, and we outlined some of them for you here:
1. Adaptive Parenting – Parenting in general is all about adaptation. You’ve got to adjust to feeding schedules, bedtime, school, and caring for another human being in general. However, your disability might require a little extra adaptation to get the job done. There are many adaptive tools available to parents with disabilities such as a swivel base car seats, attachable wheelchair strollers, and side-opening cribs. In addition to tools, you may discover (or already have) some of your own parenting life hacks. It’s okay to get creative.
2. Get What You Deserve – As a disabled parent, you and/or your partner may already receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits, but did you know your child may qualify to receive them too? When a child collects benefits based on the benefits received by a parent, it is referred to as auxiliary benefits. However, keep in mind that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) differs from SSDI, and does not qualify your child for benefits.
3. Plan For the Future – The moment you find out you will be adding a new member to your family the planning begins. You’ve got to get your finances in order and start planning for your child’s future. It is no surprise that children are expensive, and if you are able, you may look to enter or re-enter the workforce. Use career tools and resources geared toward disabled adults. It’s never too early to start researching and planning for your child’s educational future either. All children deserve the right to higher education, but as a disabled parent, you may worry that the expense might make that impossible. There are many scholarships available to children of disabled parents, making both of your dreams a reality.
Being a disabled parent is a unique dynamic, but millions of people do it every single day and you can too. Take advantage of the resources available to you, and take comfort in the fact that there is no right way to parent – a happy, healthy child has an awesome parent to thank!