Fostering Independence In A Child With Special Needs


Around 9.4 million children in the U.S. have special healthcare needs, and around 20% of households with children have a child with a special need. For parents whose child has recently been diagnosed with a disability, one of the first questions that can arise is how to raise their child with the independence they need to enjoy a good quality of life. Parents can take various steps to make this a reality by ensuring their child has the financial and legal help they may be entitled to, and by forming part of a network that can provide useful support.

Financial Aid And Legal Considerations

Just a few developmental disabilities children face include autism, intellectual disabilities, genetic disorders, and cerebral palsy (CP). Children with disorders like cerebral palsy often require significant care for several hours of the day, which is why it is important for those forming part of the CP family to find out what financial and legal help they may be entitled to. In the case of CP, it is estimated that around 20% of children develop this disorder because of a birth injury. If this is the result of medical negligence, the child may be entitled to compensation, so if negligence is suspected, parents should receive advice from a trusted legal specialist. On the financial side, you should find out if your child is eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. If so, they will also be entitled to Medicaid coverage.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program

The Children’s Health Insurance Program allows states to provide health insurance to families whose income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but not high enough to pay for private insurance. If your child is accepted, they will enjoy coverage for vision, hearing, and mental health services, as well as for prescription medication. When your child receives SSI, the Social Security Administration will inform you of additional healthcare services your child may be entitled to – including the Handicapped Children’s Program and Children’s Special Health Services.

Joining Networks And Support Groups

One of the most fruitful steps you can take if you have a child with a disability is to form part of a network of parents with a child that has the same special need/s as your child. Doing so will enable you to enjoy the support and friendship that are so important as you adapt to the changes in your life. Parents can also refer you to tried-and-tested services – including those of physiotherapists, speech therapists, behavioral therapists, and other professionals offering the services your child may need. Parents also tend to be up-to-speed with new, innovative treatments that may be providing impressive results, as well as useful tools and technology. For CP, for instance, big advances have been made in the areas of robotics (one device helps babies with CP crawl) and in apps that regularly monitor health and manage and organize information.

Around 20% of households with children have a child with special needs. Parents who wish to ensure their child has the best access to treatments and therapies can take several steps to help their child. These include obtaining financial and legal aid, signing up for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and joining support groups to meet other families whose insight and experience can be invaluable.

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