3 Things Parents Of Children With Significant Disabilities Wish You Knew
For those parents of whom their child’s disability goes well beyond the things you’d typically not notice right away, life for them is a lot different than a parent whose child has, say, mild to moderate autism or ADHD. Many of these parents live much more hectic lives than most. For those who have children who don’t let them sleep, consider the parent who can’t sleep because their child has medical needs that have to be addressed in the middle of the night…every night. Children with significant disabilities, both physical and neurological, have to try to fit into a society that doesn’t welcome them as easily as it could.
A great number of these families tend to avoid social gatherings where there will be more people who don’t know them than do. If you wonder why they don’t reach out or include themselves a lot, try to take into consideration a few reasons why they aren’t.
Parents of Children With Significant Disabilities Struggle Socially
Aside from the awkwardness that a parent with a child with significant disabilities may have being in a room full of people with all eyes on their child, even being without kids (albeit rare) can be a little unnerving too. With so much focus on one person all the time, many parents in this situation have trouble relaxing and fitting in with people who are not going through the same things they are.
When all of your daily activities at home pertain to parenting children with significant disabilities, it is hard to find time for things like hobbies or book clubs that may make it easier to have light-hearted conversations. It might take a friend who is willing to keep inviting and offering different ways to interact socially together to get one of these parents to let their guard down and take advantage. Don’t give up on them, just have some compassion and a little patience.
They Don’t Want To Talk About Just Their Child’s Disability
These parents spend a lot of time talking to specialists, doctors, educators, physical therapists, and other professionals who help in the development of their child. When you are parenting children with significant disabilities, childcare takes up the majority of their time. With all that goes into caring for a child in this situation, the last thing they want to do when they are out for a social gathering, whether it’s with their child or not, is talk ad nauseum about their child’s disability.
Honestly, give them a little time to focus on something else. Offer up other topics of conversation instead of barraging them with questions about their child. It might be your attempt at acclimatingaclaimating them or a way of finding something to talk about, but curb your curiosity for a time when they feel like sharing what goes on in the life of their child. You’ll have an easier time building a social bridge if you are not focusing on the one thing that they deal with all the time. They are individuals outside of their child’s disability and it is the caring person who recognizes that.
Don’t Ignore Them Or Their Child In Social Situations
When you are in a social situation with a parent who is accompanying their child with a significant disability the tendency for some is avoidance if they don’t know how to approach the situation. This is a behavior well-noticed when you are parenting children with significant disabilities. It only serves to alienate rather than include. Maybe you’ve never encountered a child who looks or behaves like theirs, but there is a first time for everything. Be the one to extend a handshake and say hello. Be sure and introduce yourself to their child as well.
Letting them fit in will be a blessing to all of you. Everyone wants to feel included and welcomed, especially when they are new. Put yourself in their shoes and be the one who bridges the gap. You’ll probably be very glad you did.
They Manage A Heck Of A Lot So Forgive The Lack Of Response
Parents who have children with significant disabilities manage a lot of care on a daily basis. This will always take precedence over returning social calls, emails and texts. Don’t take it personally. Just be patient. Thoughts and words of kindness are always appreciated, even if the response comes a week (or two) later.
Parents who are able to effectively manage their child’s disability care are the ones who are more apt to reach out. There are tools available to help with care management of a child with a significant disability. The best one to date is eCare Vault. It is the first cloud-based, secure platform of it’s kind created specifically for managing care and/or education of a loved one. Imagine all of the child’s complete developmental history available for any care providers to view, interact with and comment on as assigned by the parent. The most effective management is real-time collaboration. Parents get that here with eCare Vault inis the most seamless of fashions.
Want to help a parent of a child with a significant disability have more time and feel more confident in managing the care of their child? Tell them about eCare Vault today!