When it comes to disabilities, we tend to speak of children with disabilities rather than parents with disabilities. And yet, parents with disabilities is an important issue to discuss. There tends to be an assumption that parents who are disabled are also unable to care for their child. But this is not true.
Disabled parents need support not stigma
Having a disability doesn’t mean that a parent is unable to provide a loving and secure environment for their child to grow up in and the assumptions made may not only be inaccurate, they tend to be quite unfair. Special parents don’t need this stigma; they need support instead.
Often social services may assume that the child needs foster care without actually going into the merits of each individual case, as in the instance of a Toronto based couple with cerebral palsy.
In fact, kids of parents with disabilities could have certain benefits: they may grow up being better aware of diversity and disability awareness.
The child may become more compassionate towards others and may also learn to be more self-reliant and resourceful.
In any event, why should parents who have disabilities be singled out? Parents who develop disease or illness later may also have similar care giving limitations which may have to be overcome.
However, there is support for parents with illness or disabilities available too, it is perhaps social awareness and tolerance that needs to increase as well.
Support for parents with disabilities
Though individuals with disabilities can have doubts about their own abilities to bring up children, many parents successfully bring up babies even while coping with their own limitations.
Individuals are often told that having a family is not an option for them, but it can be possible and support is at hand as well. In fact, in the United States alone, there are about 8 million families who have at least one parent with a disability.
The Disabled Parents website is a resource for differently abled parents. You can get information here about books that could help parents cope, information about journals and articles that can also help. Information about adaptive or adaptable parenting products is available. Links to support organization and information about toys and recreation could also be helpful.
The developmental disability website offers insight into how parents with disabilities raise their kids. Information about agency support, dealing with the possibility of termination of parental rights, getting help from family and community are some of the issues discussed here.