The latest US census figures show that over 3 million children have a disability and, with a greater understanding of cognitive impairments, the number of children diagnosed with special needs is rising. Finding out your child has a disability can be overwhelming, and, in the long-term, their care will most likely require extra time, effort and money.
Fortunately, there are many organizations and communities that can give you the support you need, whether you are looking for ways to stimulate learning and imagination or funding to cover medical costs. With access to the right resources, you can help to ensure your child is able to lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Covering Healthcare Costs
If your child has a disability such as cerebral palsy or is on the autistic spectrum, it is likely that they will need long-term medical or therapeutic treatment. The cost of these treatments and other caregiving expenses can be considerable over time.
According to Autism Speaks, raising a child with intellectual impairment can cost up to ten times more than an average child. While some additional expenses are covered by health insurance, you will probably need to find alternative sources of funding to pay for others. As well as checking for eligibility for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid, some hospitals and private foundations offer grants to pay for expenses such as transportation or specialist equipment.
If you think your child’s disability may have been caused by professional negligence during birth, cerebral palsy lawyers can help you to open a case of medical malpractice. With a successful outcome, any settlement received can be used to help your child get the best start in life, and pay for any future care costs.
Access to Quality Education
All children with special needs should be able to access quality public education free of charge as stated in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). As soon as your baby or toddler has been diagnosed with a physical or mental disability, they can be enrolled in an early intervention program that will help them to reach developmental milestones.
With a diagnosis from the doctor, tests and evaluations of older children are carried out through your local school district. Custom learning plans can be put in place and regularly reviewed to help your child develop the essential skills that will prepare them for life after school.
Encouraging Social Activities
As well as ensuring their medical and educational needs are met, encouraging your child to take part in everyday social activities, or join a community where they can make friends, can be beneficial to their development and quality of life. Support groups that focus on a particular disability can also be a place for you to share your experience with other parents, access resources and organize respite care if necessary.
Discovering your child has any kind of physical, mental or emotional impairment can be unsettling at first. However, by taking advantage of all the many sources of help and support available, you can ensure your child has the best start in life and is able to achieve their full potential.