Tips for Caring for a Disabled Child
When you are the primary caretaker for a disabled child, daily tasks such as feeding, parenting duties, and potty training can be much harder. Here are some tips that will help you to care for a disabled child:
Disabled children have many problems with eating and feeding due to various reasons such as:
- Limited mobility that makes it hard for them to sit up during feeding
- Physical problems, which cause problems in sucking, swallowing, chewing, and digesting different foods
- Learning disabilities that make it harder for them to learn
Due to all these problems, it might take longer for your child to learn how to feed himself or herself. However, once the child learns how to do it, the skills will come in handy and help in other areas such as language and speech development. According to the doctors at Riverside Medical, you should ask your health visitor for specialist recommendations as your child grows older.
- A dietician will be able to help you if you think that your child is not eating enough.
- A language and speech therapist might be able to help with issues like swallowing and chewing.
- An occupational therapist can give you some advice about aids that could help your child: adapted cutlery, special plates, and non-slip mats.
- A physiotherapist can advise you on how to sit your child up correctly during feeding
Feeding issues will take a toll on your wellbeing, which means that you should look for emotional support instead of dealing with it on your own.
If your child is not sleeping properly, he will be too tired and this could end up affecting your whole family. Children with disabilities have problems sleeping for several reasons: breathing difficulties, muscle spasms, and physical disabilities. Moreover, children with learning disabilities might not understand when or why they should sleep.
Your health visitor needs to suggest techniques that will encourage good sleep patterns. If your sleep cycle is suffering as well, you should request a carer’s assessment from social services. You might get some help and get time to catch up on your sleep. If your child needs constant care at night because of sleep problems, he might qualify for a higher DLA (disability living allowance).
Most children start potty training at around 2 or 3 years of age. However, children living with disabilities might take longer to learn how to use the bathroom. This might be because of physical challenges – such as poor muscle tone, impaired mobility, and limited motor skills – or learning disabilities. If your child’s disability causes incontinence, you should speak to a doctor.
An occupational therapist can advise you about special toilet seats or potties in case your child needs help with sitting. On the other hand, a physiotherapist can help you with issues such as finding the right position to use the toilet or moving your child. If you need to do a lot of laundry because of your child’s disability, you should talk to your water provider and ask him to cap the cost.
If you are worried about your kid’s mobility, you should ask your GP to recommend a good physiotherapist. During the assessment, the physiotherapist will suggest mobility aids for your child such as:
- Buggies and wheelchairs with adapted seating, which can be useful for getting around
- You can loan walking aids from a local hospital and test how well they work
You should have a good relationship with the medical secretary at your local hospital because your child will need constant medical care.