Planning for the Future With Your Child with Special Needs

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Around 9.4 children in the U.S. are estimated to have special care needs, which equates to roughly 20% of all U.S. households. Some of these needs are related to speech and language delays, ASD, and motor disabilities such as cerebral palsy. If you have a child with a special need, it is important to prepare for their future from the outset so you can rest assured they will be healthy and happy in their adulthood. These are just a few considerations you may wish to keep in mind for the future as they grow, learn, and develop.

Legal Considerations

One of the biggest worries for parents is the financial future of their children. The Census indicates that the percentage of people with disabilities aged 16 to 64 is 55.8%, meaning that around 44% of people with disabilities are not working. Many disabilities are discovered young. For instance, cerebral palsy (CP) is often diagnosed by the age of two. When diagnosing cerebral palsy, the specialist may recommend a CT scan and an MRI. These tests may determine if the baby was deprived of oxygen and if the latter was the cause of CP.

If medical negligence was the cause of the problem, then seeking legal advice is key. You could decide to file a lawsuit for damages. The truth of the matter is that CP is expensive, with costs potentially reaching $1 million per lifetime for medical care, home care, novel therapies, and the like. Ensuring your child does not go without crucial care is key in planning their future.

Making a Care Plan

Research by scientists at the University of Illinois has revealed that less than 50% of parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities make long-term plans about who will care for their child if something should happen to them. Study author, Meghan Burke, wishes to remind parents that people with disabilities are living longer (and they often outlive their parents), so planning for their future care should begin as early as possible. Consideration to be included in your care plan include identifying a successor as family caregiver, researching residential options, and creating a special needs trust.

Rely on Trusted Resources

Throughout your time as a parent, it is important to be socially connected and to form part of networks that include parents of children with special needs. Doing so will enlighten you on everything from new programs and therapies to forms of aid. Organizations such as the Federation for Children with Special Needs, the Special Needs Alliance, National Down Syndrome Society and many others are a vital source of information regarding education centers, health advocacy, workshops, wellness tips, tips for securing safe housing, employment opportunities, and the like. Forming part of social networks, however, will often provide shortcuts to key information that can make a positive difference in your child’s life.

If your child has been diagnosed with one or more special needs, then planning for their future is never too early. There are many steps to take – including the consideration of legal action if medical negligence is responsible for your child’s condition. Establishing a care plan and staying informed is important. So is forming part of networks that can keep you abreast of new legal, financial, and health-related developments that can help your child enjoy a bright future.

Sue Brown

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