Parenting An Older Child With Additional Needs

Older Child With Additional Needs

Disclaimer: Elise Ho, aka “Dr. Ho” is a Holistic Health & Life Coach. Dr. Ho is NOT a medical doctor, licensed therapist, lawyer, or a bevy of other things. Products or services that Dr. Ho believes in are the only ones that she recommends. Dr. Ho may receive compensation, product, or an affiliate commission on anything you see on this site. This is a personal Website solely reflecting Dr. Ho’s personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

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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. 

 

Older Child With Additional Needs

Encourage independence

 

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.

More on Parenting:

Tips For New Parents
Tips For New Parents
Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me? with Dr. John Gray
Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me? with Dr. John Gray
In this ongoing series on Positive Parenting Skills, Dr. John Gray and I turn to the often asked question of “Why Isn’t My Teen Listening To Me?”
Positive Parenting Skills

 

 

 

 

 

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Naturally Yours,
Elise Ho
Ph.D., D.N. Psych.
Behavioral & Mental Health Specialist

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28 thoughts on “Parenting An Older Child With Additional Needs”

  1. Blair villanueva

    Thanks for sharing tips about this kind of parenting. This is very helpful for us to better understand parents who are in this situation.

  2. iI cannot imagine a family whose one of the members have special needs. I have seen a friend struggling to raise his son with autism. Fortunately, he has survive the growing up years.

  3. This topic is over looked, and I’m so glad you were able to shed light on it. I love the fact that one suggestion is to encourage independence. I see so many parents with additional needs kids keep them dependent on them, which could be dangerous.

    1. Complete dependence on parents stunts the growth of children. When we allow them to be independent (within reasonable abilities) we foster great confidence and feelings of self-worth.

  4. Parenting is a huge responsibility and we need to be prepared to face a lot of challenges. Excellent blog posts.

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About The Author

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho

Dr. Elise Ho is a Holistic Health & Life Coach with a special interest in emotional health, life alignment, and energy flow.

Elise will partner with you to align your mindset, your energy, your home and your career so that you can live your life's desire with freedom and love.

Elise offers 30 years of experience and multiple certifications and degrees including a Ph.D. in Natural Health and a doctoral degree in Naturopathic Psychology.