Your Child’s Disabilities Are No Barrier to Happiness
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You’re facing an enormous challenge, but don’t be discouraged. As a committed parent, you’re going to give your child — no matter what mental or physical disabilities they may be living with — all the advantages they need to live a long and healthy life. But don’t put off your planning if you want to turn what seems like a struggle into a source of joy and happiness. Use these tips from Disabled DISventures to help your child thrive.
Look Into Therapy
Your child will likely benefit from it, whatever their disability. Start your research with the Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that stipulates a local government agency is required to create an Individualized Family Service Plan to ensure that children between the ages of 0 and 3 have what they need to thrive in their home environment and beyond. That includes access to specialists offering speech, physical, and mental health therapy.
Plan for Their Education
Your child has the right to schooling that addresses their special needs. The Handicapped Infants and Toddlers Program provides for children from birth through the age of 2, while the Preschool Grants Program covers them up to the age of 5. The transition to elementary school can be more difficult, as fewer teachers per student mean less individualized attention. However, you may be reimbursed for tuition at private schools under certain circumstances.
Prepare Your Home
There’s a good chance that your home isn’t suitable for a child with disabilities. Children with physical disabilities need easy access via a ramp, which can range in price from just $100 to as much as $15,000, with a door that opens to at least 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair. These costs add up, and it may make financial sense to move. If so, begin your search online in your own area for an easy transition.
Get the Right Coverage
Your own life insurance is a primary concern, as you need to make sure your child is taken care of in the case of your absence. Before you begin looking into policies, estimate the amount of money they will need over the course of their lifetime based on their challenges. The financial gurus at NerdWallet suggest setting up a special-needs trust that ensures your child won’t be disqualified from government assistance in the event of a large inheritance.
Create an Emergency Fund
The right policy does not excuse you from setting money aside to cover all circumstances, from grave emergencies to mild inconveniences. You may need to make adjustments to your vehicle or pay out of pocket for some health care expenses. Luckily, there are tax-preferred savings plans, according to MarketWatch. With an Achieving a Better Life Experience account, families can save up $14,000 without losing access to certain government benefits.
Take Care of Yourself
You simply won’t be able to provide the best for your child if you are under too much pressure. The most important thing is to stay healthy, which means plenty of exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep. Sometimes that won’t be enough, at which point you should take a few hours to yourself for a massage or a walk in the park while your partner holds down the fort. You may also look into more permanent ways to relieve stress, such as meditation or yoga.
Whenever possible, you should plan vacations for you and your entire family. That way, everyone can get away from the daily grind and just relax and enjoy themselves. If you’re looking for recommendations on how to travel with a disability, please read the many informative and helpful posts here at Disabled DISventures.
If you’re ready for the obstacles in your path, you’ll know your way around them. Then, you can take pleasure in the joys of parenthood, from the baby’s first word to high-school graduation, while keeping the worries and headaches to a minimum. That may be more difficult for you than other parents, but you’re not alone in the challenge, so keep your head up.
Guest Post by Ed Carter
Retired Financial Planner