In this issue, we looked at ourselves as parents of children with disabilities and found out that sometimes we need help but hesitate to ask for it. Here are some tips offered to get the help you need:
Create a list of needs. How many times have you heard someone say, "Let me know if I can do anything." And how many times have you said, "I will" — and then didn't? People want to help but they don't know how. Make a list of the things that would make your life easier.
Be honest about what you need. By letting people know about your situation, you're allowing them to enter your world. When you say, "Going to the hospital by myself is hard," you're giving a friend a chance to say, "Let me come with you."
Enlist other caregivers. Parents of children with disabilities often feel that they're the only ones who can handle their child's care. You could try finding or creating a parent group to make connections with people who might be able to swap babysitting time. By leaving your child with a trusted sitter, family member, or a friend, you are also teaching your child to handle change.
Consider respite. Respite services also may be available for your child. These services can include a caregiver coming to your home to give you a break for a few hours or overnight, or a drop-off program in the community.
Turn to the experts. Social workers can tell you about local services and support in your area that can help take the burden off you (and your bank account). This includes respite care, government benefits, family reimbursement, and other financial supports. Social workers also help with emotional support, including ways to practice self-care.
Adapted from Getting Support When Your Child Has Special Health Care Needs
Family advocates, like those at Starbridge, can support you in getting connected to services and resources. Please visit our website or contact us.