Parenting is rarely a simple and straightforward pursuit. Navigating the world of childcare can feel like a minefield at times, and the difficulties ramp up significantly with certain variables in this process. One of these variables is if your child suffers from a disability, as this can add a number of extra steps to everyday life. However, it is possible to get accustomed to these changes, but it will require time and experience. Doing your research is essential when caring for someone with a disability, especially a child, and so to help you with this process, we’ve listed five tips for parents caring for their child in a wheelchair, used by many parents in this situation.
Make Your Plans
As any parent will tell you, organising any day out or major event when kids are involved can feel like a waking nightmare. The phrase “herding sheep” or a similar statement will often come up when parents talk about getting their family ready for a day out. Ensuring that everyone is prepared for the day ahead can truly be exhausting – but when one of your children is in a wheelchair, there will be a number of additional things to consider to be sure you’re all ready for the day, and that includes planning and researching your destination using accessible apps ahead of time. Check that the place has wheelchair accessibility and that you have transportation options available to you, should you need them.
Connect With Others
When caring for a child in a wheelchair parents tell me that this can often feel like a very lonely experience. Many of the other parents and children you and your child might meet may not face those same challenges as the both of you, and so it can be difficult to relate to each other. This is why it’s important to find others in similar situations that you can connect with to not only offer you support as a parent but to provide your child with support from others in similar situations, too.
Use The Right Equipment
When travelling about, there are a few other equipment considerations to make, but one, in particular, is going to be your choice of vehicle. Luckily, today, there are many different vehicle options that offer access to wheelchair users, whether they are drivers or passengers. For your child, you may want to consider the range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles you can get via companies like Allied Mobility. This can seriously change your life if you’re currently used to using a non-accessible vehicle.
Take Care Of Yourself
As a carer of someone with a disability, especially when it’s your child, there is a strong possibility that you let your own needs fall by the wayside. This is entirely understandable as our children’s well-being often becomes our sole focus in life, and even more so when they have a disability to cope with. However, letting yourself get overwhelmed or burned out is going to have a serious impact on your physical and mental health and will reduce your ability to properly care for your child.
If you’re not worried about taking care of yourself from a personal perspective, then you should instead think about how much better care you can provide to your child when you feel revitalised and ready to take on the day. Consider practicing wellness activities, getting plenty of rest and exercise, and eating correctly, so that you can feel better prepared to provide care for your child.