Parenting An Older Child With Additional Needs
There is a wealth of information available about school-aged children with additional needs. There is a bounty of support available, ranging from IEPs to entertaining toys and adaptive equipment. However, things can become more difficult as your child grows older.
Here, we look at some of the things that may be important when parenting an older child with additional needs.
Allowing your child to make mistakes while under your supervision when they are younger can help them develop self-soothing, problem-solving skills, and independence. Allowing your child to develop personal and practical life skills encourages them to mature as individuals. Of course, this does wholly depend on the level and form of additional needs, but in general, even a little bit of independence can go a long way. The truth is that you will not always be there for them, and this does not have to be a bad or frightening thing. It is essential to be a fighter for your child, but it may be just as important to allow them to encounter success and failure for themselves.
Understanding that there are elements of your child’s life over which you have no control is a critical first step in transitioning your additional needs child into adulthood and making the experience a little easier for them.
Look into programs where your child can interact with other children. There are day programs, respite, camps, Passavant Memorial Homes, and so on. A respite program will do wonders not only for the child’s independence but also for the family.
Plan for the future
Aging is an unavoidable side effect of life, whether we like it or not. Your child is not Peter Pan and they will grow up. This can be especially challenging for people with special needs. Thinking ahead to their adulthood can be an excellent strategy for reducing stress and consequent confusion that comes with parenting an adult with special needs.
If legal guardianship is required, it is recommended that they seek legal guardianship at the age of 17 before becoming a legal adult at the age of 18. The process can be time-consuming, and you should have everything in place and scheduled with the courts before your child turns 18 years old.
Take steps to prepare yourself
One thing that some parents overlook is the fact that their children will not always be young. It is impossible to pause time, and y our child will grow up. Learning how to help them become more self-sufficient and independent can make you feel useless. When your child grows up, you may have to transition into a new phase of your life – it is the perfect opportunity to find some new hobbies!
This will be much more difficult for the family than it will be for the child. Families who have devoted their lives to their children may find that they must give up certain things or interests for the sake of the collective good. It will take some adjusting when you discover you have more time on your hands.
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