Parents with children who have additional needs are certainly not uncommon. In the US, an estimated 12.8% of all children have special care needs, according to the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. This is a substantial rate of prevalence, and the good news for parents across the country is that there are plenty of support networks, services and facilities available the US that can help to provide a heightened level of care. Perhaps the most important factor of all in giving children with special needs the best start in life, however, is the knowledge of parents.
Establishing a support network
Parenting starts, obviously, with the parent, and that’s where support should come from in the first instance. Learning about and supporting a child with additional needs is a difficult task, but a worthwhile one. Boston University outline these responsibilities, highlighting the even higher level of support parents need to provide to a child with additional needs, given the amount of medical appointments, treatments and extra emotional and physical requirements a child with additional needs often have.
However, providing this support in the first instance is going to be influential in providing a great start to life for these children in the future. Consider the nature of a child’s care; to use the example of cerebral palsy, the physical therapy associated with care is essential to their long-term health, but can be difficult, especially for young children. Providing a clear and firm support network throughout cerebral palsy physical therapy will be more beneficial than anything else, helping to support the parent-child bond.
Access to services
While the general state of care for children with additional needs is good in the US, with some care world-leading, there is an issue of access. A study published by Plos One outlined how in many developed countries a lack of reasonable adjustment makes unequal access to proper care a reality. For parents, this can mean many things. An adapted car is one solution, but for many parents, moving closer to services may be necessary. In the modern remote-working focused world, this is becoming more possible, and can help to give children that extra boost they need to receive the proper level of care.
It’s also important that parents regularly review what medications and treatments can help with their child’s care. Key among these are drug and therapy developments. A good example can be seen with cystic fibrosis. Recent developments have seen the production of a major new treatment drug that reduces the quantity of medications children with CF require in addition to reducing the amount of care required in administration. This means a much better quality of life, and, for parents, less stress around the subject of properly administering care for additional needs.
These improvements improve lives, both for parents and children. It’s imperative that parents look into using them to make sure that they find these upticks in quality of life. Combined with dedicated care and a real support network, this can help to create the best possible chances for a child with additional needs.
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