"Parenting with a Disability: Preparing Your Home and Finances"
By Ashley Taylor
When you’re a parent, you know how valuable resourcefulness is. Parenting requires you to take on multiple, complex roles and responsibilities. Parents who live with disabilities often have the advantage of being especially resourceful, since they’ve spent years adapting to a world that is generally not constructed for them. Considering how unpredictable both children and life in general can be, having a developed sense of ingenuity really comes in handy.
If you’re a parent—or soon-to-be parent—with a physical or mental disability, making preparations around the house can cut down on the number of obstacles you have to deal with in your day-to-day life. Furthermore, accessing all the financial resources available to you can prevent your family from falling into the patterns of poverty associated with this historically oppressed minority group. The following advice can help you do just that.
Childproofing the Home
All new parents have to childproof the home in some ways. If you have a disability, it’s not easy getting this monumental task done on your own. Consider finding a local childproofing expert who can provide you with specific advice on what your home needs and ensure it gets done. A professional childproofing expert should be a member of the International Association for Child Safety and come with recommendations from friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors. You can also check in with your OB/GYN, midwife, or Lamaze teacher to see if they have any recommendations. If you live in a larger urban area, you may be able to find a childproofing expert who specializes in helping parents with disabilities. A professional with this niche expertise can point out any accessibility features or products you may benefit from once the baby is home, such as:
● Noise-activated light switches and touch-activated faucets
● Accessible baby bathtub
● Wider doorways
● Wheelchair baby carrier
● Co-sleeper cot or modified crib
● Height-adjusting changing table
Help Around the Home
It’s not just parents with disabilities—all of us who choose to have children need to lean on those around us. What’s important is for parents who have a disability to not feel guilty about asking for help when they need it. Siblings—both the baby’s brothers or sisters as well as their aunts or uncles—should be able to help out when needed. Furthermore, don’t forget to tap into the ready and willing assistance of grandparents. But don’t just reach out for help with the children. Look into making room in your budget for help with daily chores, such as dog walking, grocery shopping, and house cleaning. Being a parent is exhausting. Outsourcing menial tasks allots you the time you need for self-care and rest so you can be a happy, healthy, and effective caregiver for your child.
Financial Resources for Parents with Disabilities
Despite the plethora of grants, loans, and other financial resources out there for people with disabilities, the competition is always tough. Because of this, it pays to apply to every single thing you qualify for. It may be a time-consuming process, but it’s the best way to beat the odds.
Financial assistance to consider includes:
● Social Security Disability Insurance
● Supplemental Security Income
● Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
● Designated Housing Vouchers
● Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
● Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
Parenting takes resourcefulness, so the innate resourcefulness that comes with living with a disability can be a huge advantage for new or expecting parents. However, there are definitely challenges to overcome. A qualified childproofing expert can help parents complete the crucial tasks of preparing the home while offering advice on accessibility features and products that can be useful during the early stages of parenthood. When it comes to finding help with daily tasks, tap into family and friends for child-rearing assistance, but also look into outsourcing chores and errands to ensure you’re well-rested. Finally, be diligent when applying for financial assistance in order to beat the odds and receive funding over other applicants.
*Ashley Taylor is a guest writer for Siblings with a Mission. Ashley and her husband are parents with disabilities and have two children. Ashley is passionate about sharing information and resources to help people with disabilities plan and prepare for parenthood.
Photo by Luma Pimentel on Unsplash. The suggestions, information, and links provided in this article are meant to serve as a resource, and are not intended to serve as professional advice and counseling but to be considered as an additional source of support.
Siblings with a Mission is a non-profit, international organization established to serve and support siblings of individuals with special needs. All images are found on Google images and are solely used for educational purposes. The stories and advice provided by Siblings with a Mission are not to be replaced by professional advice and counseling but to be considered as an additional source of support.