A disability can be defined as a term that broadly covers the mental and physical impairments that restrict day to day activities of a person. It often results in substantially reduced capacity of the person for communication, social interaction, learning or mobility and a need for continuing support services. The task of caring for a child with special needs can be understandably daunting especially for new parents. However, there are certain tools at your disposal that can help you take better care of your child.

Finances

This is usually the first aspect that people worry about because your child will need extra care which usually means extra money. While you may be able to take out disability cover for yourself, there aren’t that many options for the parents of children with disabilities in the short term. However, a good start in the long term would be to set up a special needs trust for them so that they will be able to take care of their financial needs when they are older. Secondly, the government offers a disability grant that you can apply for on behalf of your child. This grant is a maximum of R1780 per month that will be deposited into your bank account. Lastly, there is a tax benefit you can apply for, for out of pocket medical expenses for a child with disabilities. This available on the SARS website https://www.sars.gov.za/ClientSegments/Individuals/Tax-Stages/Pages/Tax-and-Disability.aspx

Peer Support

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who are in a situation that is similar to yours or who are experts in the field. A good start is joining a support group with fellow parents or spouses for people who have disabilities. This will not only be beneficial for you as a learning platform, but it will be helpful in providing you with a support system of people who understand you. You can find some support groups here https://www.saslha.co.za/Public/SupGroups

Moving and Handling

You may be trying your best to be careful to not make your child more uncomfortable, however, depending on your child’s disability; you may need a professional care worker to come into your home and give you some training. This will equip you to take the appropriate steps when caring for your child in your day to day lives while making sure they are always comfortable, and you aren’t frustrated.

Be Considerate

This may be a no brainer to some, but it is very easy to get frustrated as someone who’s caring for a person with special needs. It is important to take it slow and try to understand how the situation is impacting your relationship with your child. Allow yourself to be a beginner and learn as much as you can so that you can understand your child’s needs. It is important to speak to your child the way you would any other person because there is no need to further alienate them.

 Hopefully, you’ll find some of the guidance and tips above help for dealing with your situation – it’s not easy but you should improve over time. If you would like to share any of your own experiences, we would love to hear any comments you might have below.