Having your first child is overwhelming – and more than a little bit terrifying – for everyone, but parents with disabilities have to contend with their own set of challenges.
For instance, your home is probably already designed around your current needs, but these are invariably bound to change with a child. Luckily, there are a few small changes you can make to your home and to your life that will help you fulfil both your needs and the of the baby.
Image from Pixabay
If you have a physical disability, chances are that you have already considered the safety hazards in your home. However, what works for you now may not necessarily work for you when you have a fidgeting baby (or worse, a restless toddler) that you have to keep up with.
It’s important to plan ahead and think about planning for safety even before your bundle of joy arrives. Examples of things you may have to consider include:
- Children have a tendency to leave trip hazards lying around. If you have difficulty picking things up or have reduced visibility, you will need to plan around this. For instance, consider having a dedicated play area where all toys should be kept when they’re not in use.
- Installing grab bars around your tub or shower so that you have something to hold onto when bathing your child.
- Getting non-slip mats and rugs for any rooms with smooth, slippery floors.
- If you tend to use one arm or hand, install door handles that can be used while holding your baby in your good arm.
Making Life Easier
Once you have ensured that your home is safe for both you and your child, you may want to consider the small ways in which you can make day-to-day life go more smoothly. This includes buying any specialised equipment you may need to carry out regular tasks, such as an easy-access car seat or height-adjustable cots and high chairs. It can also be smaller touches, like labelling your baby food with braille tape or a recognizable textured tape if you are visually impaired.
Make a list of every practical issue or difficulty you think you may encounter, big or small. Then, go through each one and try to come up with a solution. You may have to get creative, like many differently abled parents do, but in the end, you will find a system that works for you and your family.
Finally, as a disabled parent, you will sometimes encounter unique issues and need help from specialists. No matter how stressful it gets, remember that you are not alone. The internet is a wonderful tool and has many resources to connect you with other parents who may have helpful advice and support, including those who have been in the exact same situation as you.
Despite what some people may tell you, raising a child when you’re a parent with a disability is not an impossible task. You will probably often feel overwhelmed, or need help from your partner or from friends and family members, but the vast majority of parents do. Every parent is dealing with their own challenges and difficulties, and doing their best to accommodate them; you are no different.
Guest Blog is written by Ashley Taylor from disabledparents.org