Being a parent is a full time job, and if your child has a physical disability, this can make every day parenting duties such as helping them get dressed, go to the toilet, bed time, and even meal times more time consuming and challenging. However, if you are the parent of a physically disabled child you will also know that it is significantly rewarding, and knowing your child’s personal needs and requirements can make looking after them much easier. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you care for your child.
Feeding and Eating
Children with physical disabilities often struggle at meal times, no matter how much they love their food. Your child may have problems that cause difficulty when chewing, swallowing or even digesting foods, which means that they need an extra helping hand when eating a meal. If your child has problems chewing and swallowing the best thing to do may be to blend the food – they can still eat the same as everybody else, however putting it in a blender turns the food into a ‘baby food’ like texture that’s easier for them to manage. Therapists can also help with actions such as chewing and swallowing, and you can buy special plates, cups and cutlery to make eating easier for your child.
One of the biggest challenges for many parents who have physically disabled children is mobility, and if your child is unable to move around by themselves it can be concerning for you as a parent. However, there are many things that you can do in order to help your child’s mobility such as visiting a physiotherapist or other specialist, and you can get specially designed pushchairs or wheelchairs to make it easier for your child to get around. If you child is older and needs a new wheelchair, you may want to consider getting them one that they can work themselves in order to give them some independence. For DME from Adaptive Specialties, check out this range of wheelchairs and pushchairs you may wish to consider for your child.
When it comes to sleeping, children with physical disabilities can often have problems, whether it be breathing and respiratory problems, painful muscle spasms, or simply being able to find themselves a comfortable sleeping position. Your child not sleeping well can be an issue that affects the whole family, especially if they are loud or need attention at night when they cannot sleep. If you are finding that your child is having more and more issues when trying to sleep at night in a regular bed, you may wish to consider investing in a specially adapted home hospital bed which can be adjusted to their needs. Many home hospital beds have controls which can be worked by your child themselves so that if they become uncomfortable in the night a simple switch of a button can change the position and elevation of the bed.
If you’re the parent of a disabled child, we’d love to hear any advice you may have in the comments.