A Guide To Parenting For Adults With Disabilities
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A Guide To Parenting For Adults With Disabilities

There's greater acceptance now for adults with disabilities who want to become parents--one Mom shares her tips

Mom with Baby. Courtesy of Pixabay
Mom with Baby. Courtesy of Pixabay

Do you think your disability makes you unable to raise a child? Well, you might want to think again. More than 4,000,000 US parents are disabled in some way, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Disabled parents are rearing kids in all 50 states. Their success in carrying out their parenting roles has led to important legal changes on their behalf in recent years. For example, in 2015, the Justice Department issued guidelines to social service agencies across the country that protect the rights of disabled parents against discrimination. This is part of a welcome trend towards greater acceptance of all responsible adults who wish to know the joys of parenting.

Rising to the Challenge

A big part of parenting is teaching kids to master the challenges life brings their way. Nobody is more familiar with overcoming challenges than disabled people. You’ll find hundreds of products on the market that can help you with the day-to-day aspects of childcare. These include:

  • Baby clothing with magnetic closures for ease in changing.
  • Baby carriers with weight-distributing and posture-enhancing features.
  • Strollers with one-button operation and adjustable height.
  • Nursing bottles that stir the ingredients with built-in mixers.
  • High chairs with multiple adjustable features for the parent’s benefit as well as the child’s.

You’ll find a full list of these and other resources for disabled parents at the website Through the Looking Glass, an advocacy group that provides resources for physically and mentally challenged people who are raising children. The American Bar Association (ABA) has a wealth of free information on the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to parental rights issues.

Making Your Home Safer For All Family Members

The average home has many potential hazards, according to writers for HGTV.com. But most of these are easy to remove or modify with minimal effort. Here are some tips for making your household a safe place for everyone in your family:

  • Shield oven and stove knobs with plastic covers to prevent curious hands from turning them.
  • Store cleaning solutions and other chemicals in areas where young children cannot access them.
  • Secure dressers and other potential tipping hazards to the adjoining wall with a metal brace or other hardware. Most handypersons can handle the job if it’s beyond the parent’s skill or ability level.

Creating a safe environment for children while ensuring full access to the home’s resources may require a bit of self-education. The Aging in Place Association (AIPA) is a possible resource for helpful information. You may also wish to consult a home remodeler certified in modifying residential environments to meet the needs of disabled people.

What to Know about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

According to Qunomedical, “The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.” Despite its track record of success, the costs involved with IVF make many couples think twice about pursuing this path toward parenthood. Fortunately, there are many ways to address this concern, including:

  • Fertility drugs such as clomiphene citrate, which cost less than most forms of IVF.
  • Opting for Mini-IVF
  • Looking into financing and other deferred payment options.
  • Paying for IVF on a per-services basis.
  • Setting up a crowdfunding campaign through the philanthropic organization Red Basket.

Parenting is one of life’s highest callings. It requires hard work, perseverance, and more than a little patience. But the joys of the journey make the efforts more than worthwhile. Best of luck in your future role as a parent, and enjoy every moment of the adventure.

Visit Ashley Taylor’s website Disabledparents.org.

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