Nearly 20% of Americans have some kind of intellectual, physical, or sensory disability. While being the parent of a disabled child is undoubtedly a challenge, there are many resources available that can assist parents in creating a plan to care for your child, both during childhood and into adulthood. With a little forward planning, you can rest assured that your child or children are well taken care of, even after you’re gone.
Care for the Long Term
Setting up a trust is the most efficient way to protect your assets for your family, and, according to NGLIC.com, you can set up a trust at no cost that is tax free, exempt from probate, and available immediately to your beneficiaries. You’ll want to be sure to explore all of your options in order to know you’re choosing the most appropriate trust for your family, and one that doesn’t disqualify those with special needs from services they may need. Putting in place a guaranteed nest egg for your child will allow you to rest easy knowing they will be taken care of once you’ve passed on.
There are many housing options for children and adults with disabilities. From living on their own in government subsidized housing to group home settings, there is an array of choices based on needs and where your child feels most comfortable. The ADA, in combination with the FHA, have led the way for persons with disabilities to live on their own, as well as in group housing, that will enable them as much freedom and comfort as possible. Arranging for suitable housing should be a priority, whether your child moves out of your home while you are still living or if you are simply preparing for the future.
Individualized educational plans are important for children with special needs, and under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) it is required that students with disabilities have access to free education that is tailored to their needs. Establish that they are getting the education best suited to them so they can achieve full development of their capabilities. Many children with disabilities are able to function at a very high level in an educational setting, so long as they are being taught with their disability in mind. Work closely with your child’s school and teachers, and conduct independent research to be sure you are aware of all your rights and options. Assuring that your child is properly educated based on their needs can make a world of difference in their level of functionality as adults. By being a present and active participant in their education, you can ensure they are getting the best education for them.
Insist On Adequate Medical Care
In addition to educational needs, your child may also require specific medical care. An estimated 19% of American children have special health needs, and there are a multitude of resources available for parents relating to health care for these children. Having the proper medical care, equipment, and medicines can make a difference in their happiness and well-being. Conditions like cerebral palsy can require physical therapy and equipment such as leg or arm braces, or a wheelchair, and it’s important that your child receives the proper implements. Autism, ADHD, and other special needs often benefit from psychological counseling. You’ll want to research licensed therapists who specialize in these conditions in order to verify your child is getting the utmost care.
With so many options of care for children with special needs, a fair amount of research is required to ensure you are making the right decisions for your family, but with the legwork up front, you will know your child will be set up for success and a bright future. Although planning for your child’s future and confirming that their needs are properly met is important, remember not to lose sight of the fact that parenting them and being there now is the most crucial thing. With the basics covered, you can focus your time and energies on enriching your child’s life in other ways, and spending the time you have together as a family.