How to Live Happily with a Disabled Child

How to Live Happily with a Disabled Child

At times, living with a disabled child can be confusing. Your family will face additional challenges, and you may be worried about your child's future. Don't worry —with preparation and kindness, you can handle it, and it will be okay.

Method 1 of 2:
Helping Your Child

Image titled Excited Child Talks to Adult.png
1
Treat them like a person, not a project. With specialists constantly talking about "deficits" and "delays," it can be difficult to say "My child is capable too!" Take plenty of time to work together with your child, and also appreciate their individual strengths. Work with them, not on them. Buy toys related to their strengths and favorite things, not only toys to develop lagging skills. Make sure therapy is fun and respectful, without the therapist fighting or coercing the child.
Image titled Deaf Dad and Daughter Laugh.png
2
Find fun ways to teach new skills. Your child is still a child first and foremost, and they do best in a relaxed and lighthearted atmosphere. Read books in silly voices. Play games and talk about fun things to naturally pick up social skills. Integrate your child's interests when doing therapy projects. Find an occupational therapist who recommends play activities, such as animal walks or finger painting, that are specifically tailored to your child's needs.
Image titled Cheerful Boy and Therapist Write Bedtime Ideas.png
3
Approach your child's difficulties as a team. Have your child take an active role in problem-solving, and let them brainstorm and negotiate possible solutions with you. Talk to them about what's going on, and listen closely to their ideas.
Image titled Man Speaks Lovingly to Girl.png
4
Make it clear that it is okay to be different. Teach your child that their disability is natural and acceptable, just like your son's peanut allergy or your love of high heels. This helps them know that they are not burdensome or broken. Be factual and kind when explaining their disability. Be honest about their disability. Some parents think that hiding it will help their child be more normal. However, your child will notice that they are different, and may think that something is "wrong" with them. It's better to have a friendly, positive explanation from their family. Speak respectfully about other people's differences (disability, race, LGBT+, etc.), so your child learns that diversity is natural and okay.
Image titled Man Consoles Teen Boy.png
5
Be there for them when they're struggling. All children struggle with limitations, imposed by others or their own limited skills, and children with disabilities can especially have a hard time. Be there to listen and validate their feelings. It helps for them to know that you care and you take them seriously.
Image titled Sister Laughs While Autistic Brother Flaps Hands.png
6
Help them meet other disabled people and find disabled role models. Knowing others like them will help boost their self-confidence and remind them that they can be strong and successful the way they are. Make disabled friends. Have your child join a disability group, such as the Special Olympics or a Deaf kids' group. Bring your child books about disabled people like Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson. Read about disabled culture, such as Deaf culture or autistic culture.
Image titled Hijabi Girl at Computer.png
7
Read from people who have your child's specific disability. What helped them when they were children? What did they wish their parents did for them? What is their advice to you?
Image titled Parent Kisses Child on Cheek.png
8
Be generous with love and affection. Find a way to show your child that you love them every day. A child with a disability may get a lot of negative feedback in life, so it's important to balance things out by showing them lots of love.
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Method 2 of 2:
Helping Yourself

Image titled Girl Braids Hair of Friend with Down Syndrome.png
1
Recognize that disabled people can live wonderful lives. Disabled children grow into capable, lovable disabled adults. Your child will be able to live happily. If worry is consuming you, go read things written by disabled adults. See that they are alive and okay.
Image titled Two People Talking.png
2
Find support groups, both for yourself and for your child. Life will be hard sometimes. Meeting other parents will allow you to empathize and share ideas, while your child does the same with their disabled peers.
Image titled Two People Stroll in Quiet Forest.png
3
Search for other adults who can help you. Find specialists, disabled people, and parents of disabled children who know what works and what makes life easier. A team of caring, supportive adults can help you do the best you can raising your child.
Image titled Person and Golden Retriever Take a Walk.png
4
Find time for peace and quiet every day. If you are constantly harried and stressed, you aren't doing any favors to your child or to yourself. Get rest so you can feel calm and centered each day. Take a bubble bath, read a book, take a walk, or do whatever it is that calms you. Set aside a specific time each day during which you can relax. Make a calming down corner not only for your child, but for yourself. Teach them to let you be when you are using it (just like you let them be when they use theirs).
Image titled Man and Autistic Girl Laughing.png
5
Have fun together. Engage in silly play, let their interests shine, and don't let disability overcome your lives. Disability is important, but so is parenting, and don't focus on one at the expense of the other.
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Method 1 of 2:
Helping Your Child

Image titled Excited Child Talks to Adult.png
1
Treat them like a person, not a project. With specialists constantly talking about "deficits" and "delays," it can be difficult to say "My child is capable too!" Take plenty of time to work together with your child, and also appreciate their individual strengths. Work with them, not on them. Buy toys related to their strengths and favorite things, not only toys to develop lagging skills. Make sure therapy is fun and respectful, without the therapist fighting or coercing the child.
Image titled Deaf Dad and Daughter Laugh.png
2
Find fun ways to teach new skills. Your child is still a child first and foremost, and they do best in a relaxed and lighthearted atmosphere. Read books in silly voices. Play games and talk about fun things to naturally pick up social skills. Integrate your child's interests when doing therapy projects. Find an occupational therapist who recommends play activities, such as animal walks or finger painting, that are specifically tailored to your child's needs.
Image titled Cheerful Boy and Therapist Write Bedtime Ideas.png
3
Approach your child's difficulties as a team. Have your child take an active role in problem-solving, and let them brainstorm and negotiate possible solutions with you. Talk to them about what's going on, and listen closely to their ideas.
Image titled Man Speaks Lovingly to Girl.png
4
Make it clear that it is okay to be different. Teach your child that their disability is natural and acceptable, just like your son's peanut allergy or your love of high heels. This helps them know that they are not burdensome or broken. Be factual and kind when explaining their disability. Be honest about their disability. Some parents think that hiding it will help their child be more normal. However, your child will notice that they are different, and may think that something is "wrong" with them. It's better to have a friendly, positive explanation from their family. Speak respectfully about other people's differences (disability, race, LGBT+, etc.), so your child learns that diversity is natural and okay.
Image titled Man Consoles Teen Boy.png
5
Be there for them when they're struggling. All children struggle with limitations, imposed by others or their own limited skills, and children with disabilities can especially have a hard time. Be there to listen and validate their feelings. It helps for them to know that you care and you take them seriously.
Image titled Sister Laughs While Autistic Brother Flaps Hands.png
6
Help them meet other disabled people and find disabled role models. Knowing others like them will help boost their self-confidence and remind them that they can be strong and successful the way they are. Make disabled friends. Have your child join a disability group, such as the Special Olympics or a Deaf kids' group. Bring your child books about disabled people like Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson. Read about disabled culture, such as Deaf culture or autistic culture.
Image titled Hijabi Girl at Computer.png
7
Read from people who have your child's specific disability. What helped them when they were children? What did they wish their parents did for them? What is their advice to you?
Image titled Parent Kisses Child on Cheek.png
8
Be generous with love and affection. Find a way to show your child that you love them every day. A child with a disability may get a lot of negative feedback in life, so it's important to balance things out by showing them lots of love.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 2:
Helping Yourself

Image titled Girl Braids Hair of Friend with Down Syndrome.png
1
Recognize that disabled people can live wonderful lives. Disabled children grow into capable, lovable disabled adults. Your child will be able to live happily. If worry is consuming you, go read things written by disabled adults. See that they are alive and okay.
Image titled Two People Talking.png
2
Find support groups, both for yourself and for your child. Life will be hard sometimes. Meeting other parents will allow you to empathize and share ideas, while your child does the same with their disabled peers.
Image titled Two People Stroll in Quiet Forest.png
3
Search for other adults who can help you. Find specialists, disabled people, and parents of disabled children who know what works and what makes life easier. A team of caring, supportive adults can help you do the best you can raising your child.
Image titled Person and Golden Retriever Take a Walk.png
4
Find time for peace and quiet every day. If you are constantly harried and stressed, you aren't doing any favors to your child or to yourself. Get rest so you can feel calm and centered each day. Take a bubble bath, read a book, take a walk, or do whatever it is that calms you. Set aside a specific time each day during which you can relax. Make a calming down corner not only for your child, but for yourself. Teach them to let you be when you are using it (just like you let them be when they use theirs).
Image titled Man and Autistic Girl Laughing.png
5
Have fun together. Engage in silly play, let their interests shine, and don't let disability overcome your lives. Disability is important, but so is parenting, and don't focus on one at the expense of the other.
Advertisement