Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Loved One was Diagnosed with a Disability or Illness...What do I do now? ~ Child in your Home

The role of caring for a CHILD IN YOUR HOME is different than a spouse in many ways.  Whether they are ill or not, you are responsible for them until they are 18 (and often beyond).  It is also different if you are caring for or concerned about a child that does not live in your home (more on that to come).

Hearing that anything is wrong with your baby is devastating.  There is nothing anyone can say or do to make it better.  Often times, we are at a loss and need to GRIEVE before we can move on. Sometimes we don't have time to grieve and have to dive right in.

I have two children who have been diagnosed with disabilities.  Their disabilities and diagnosis are very different.  One is more physical and the other is mental.  I will talk about the differences on those in later posts.  Neither one is easy to deal with, but as I said, I am one to take things head on and get done what needs to be done.  

If you have a spouse or partner who will be helping you with your child's care, it is important that you are on the same page.  Some things to consider if you have a child in your home with a disability or illness are the following:

  • What are your goals for your child? (Healthy child, independence, etc)
  • Do one of you need to stay home or adjust your working situation to care for your child? (If so, who? Could one of you switch to a different shift to accommodate?)
  • How will you financially survive? (Can you live on one salary if needed? Pick up an extra job?)
  • What services do we need? (Speech, Physical Therapy, etc)
  • What specialists do we need to consult? (Oncology, Dermatology, etc)
  • How will we make sure our other children are taken care of? (Always a balance even if they are all healthy)
  • What schooling will be best for our child? (Homeschooling, special education classes, a different school)
  • How can we include our child in decisions about his or her care? (Depending on age and cognitive ability, it is important to include your child, especially if your goal is independence at some point)
  • Is our home equipped to handle their disability? (Wheelchair accessible, hand rails, etc)

Dealing with any illness or diagnosis is often a roller coaster.  There will be sharp turns, ups, and downs.  Some things may not apply to you right now, but will at a later time.  When my son was a baby, he had one doctor we saw every few months.  Now he has around 12 whom we see very often.

The answers above will change, so just keep talking about them and making sure you are on the same page.  All you can do is your best.

Next up...the role of a parent with a child NOT living in the home.

If this tip was helpful, check out the other posts in the series: Our StoryInternetGrievingLearn Your Role, Spouse

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