HomeParentingDifficult Decisions for Parents of Children With Special Needs

Difficult Decisions for Parents of Children With Special Needs

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Parenting is an exciting adventure filled with new experiences, many diapers, hugs and kisses, and a lot of decisions. These decisions can be overwhelming and may even seem unending. But the choices made can have long-lasting effects on the overall success and life experience of the children in question.

All these decisions are compounded when a child has special needs. Little decisions become larger and more complicated, affecting much more than the child and parents. The stress and complexity of these decisions range from daily choices to car insurance. 

The good news is there are many support systems in place to help parents of children with special needs, including car insurance for wheelchair-adapted vehicles.

Challenging Daily Choices

The choices and decisions parents must make a start early — even little decisions like preparing a toothbrush, the clothes a child will wear, or the preferred shoe-tying method. 

As the child grows, however, the daily choices parents make usually transfer to the child themselves. This is not a transition that is easily made when a child has special needs of any kind. 

Children with special needs develop at different paces and have different abilities. In many instances, the child hasn’t acquired the ability to make their own choices, which affects their feeling of independence. 

This may cause conflicts and frustrations within the child and with the parents. The challenge is working to provide opportunities for a child to explore their own abilities and independence.

The role of parents in this instance is to present acceptable and appropriate choices to empower the child. It is up to each individual parent to decide which daily choices a child can tackle with help or supervision and how to present those choices to the child. 

These daily choices seem small, but they have major consequences and implications for the child and the entire family.

School and Special Services

Another decision parents of children with special needs must tackle the school programs and services they will use to educate and support their child. Not all school programs are created equal. 

Some schools and districts provide more special education programs than others. Parents must research the surrounding districts and less traditional options available before enrolling their child.

Extra services like therapy are similar in this way. Depending on the needs of the child, additional services and programs may be necessary. Parents should research the options available in their area in partnership with their medical professionals to make sure the child’s needs are being met. 

These decisions are crucial when it comes to a child with special needs, but similar things should be considered with all children. It’s never too early to plan for your child’s education.

Special Needs for Young Adults

In many cases, the parent’s decision-making role dwindles significantly when a child reaches 18. This is not always true when a child has special needs. 

When a child has special needs, parents have to consider what life will look like when the child is an adult. There are financial and medical decisions that they need to make for the child. 

There are also a number of legal safety nets that can be considered for adult children with special needs. The first is a guardianship or conservatorship. There is little difference between these titles, but different states use different terminology. 

A guardianship is a court process that allows a parent or guardian to make the financial and medical decisions for the child. This process can be expensive and emotionally exhausting, but it may need to be considered given a family’s situation.

Another option to consider is a durable power of attorney. This can be used when the child has the physical and mental capacity to understand some of the medical and financial decisions.

In this case, usually, parents are established to help support and make these decisions for the child without oversight or court intervention. 

Special needs trusts are another option if a child doesn’t require a guardian or conservator. This type of trust allows a child to shield and protect some of their assets and decision-making power. 

Special needs trusts don’t cut into government funding options, so any Social Security and Medicare benefits remain intact. As the parent of a child with special needs, it’s important to discuss these and all your options with an attorney familiar with special needs laws. 

Accessibility and Inclusion

One of the biggest concerns for parents of children with special needs is accessibility and inclusion. Children with disabilities can have a difficult time navigating the physical and social world. 

Families outside the special needs community may not understand these challenges. The need for inclusion and accessibility can be difficult for parents and families to work through, but it is an important aspect of life to consider.

Parents have to consider how their child will be welcomed into any public space and how their child will succeed in these situations. This can be difficult because some homes and businesses aren’t easily accessible for children with walkers or wheelchairs. 

Looking for accessibility and inclusion might mean saying no to certain experiences, but the dignity and life of your child are of the utmost importance. 

Car Insurance and Special Needs

The accessibility question is not isolated to homes and businesses, however. The family car and transportation can also raise questions of accessibility. Many families choose to invest in wheelchair-adaptable vans or vehicles. 

These vehicles are eligible for different insurance coverages and rates. If your family has the privilege of having a person with special needs, be sure to research your auto insurance options. 

Life is full of decisions, but these decisions are different for every family and life situation. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, the number of decisions to be made increases. 

This increase can be stressful, but remember, you are not alone in this journey. There are support and benefits available to help ease the number of decisions to be made. 

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Laura Gunn
Laura Gunn is a car insurance expert who researches and writes for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsuranceComparison. She is a former educator who is passionate about children and families understanding and receiving the support they need and deserve.

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