Being the parent of a child who has mental or physical disabilities is a lifelong challenge that most parents take on willingly. When our child is born, we bond and it matters little that the child may have problems.
Through the early years of our child’s life, coping is often manageable, though heart wrenching, as we are strong enough physically to lift and carry them. In Britain today there is a good support system for people looking after disabled children, though this government is trying to erode it by mining the money that underpins it for their own ends. Now, while all of these groups are being stripped of their funding, we find that the chancellor is talking about tax cuts so the wealthy can have more.
So what sort of difficulties is a person with a child that has mental or physical problems likely to face at some time? Here are a few things you may not have been aware of.
Isolation. Particularly if you are a single parent, the feelings of isolation are overwhelming sometimes, especially in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is sleeping.
Depression. As with anyone working under pressure, depression often works hand in hand with anxiety. The feelings of loneliness and isolation often lead to mental health problems for the carer.
Getting about. The Child is likely to need hospital visits, maybe for therapy treatments of some kind, or regular medical check-ups. If you have no car, it can be difficult to get about and attend appointments, particularly if there are a long journey away.
Financial struggle. Money is being cut at every turn from those that need it most. Alongside the financial cuts, extra financial burdens are being levied, such as the hated ‘bedroom tax’, for example.
Worry for the future. What is going to happen to your child when you are no longer around? They are likely to be mature adults by then who have relied on you heavily all of their lives.
The best way to combat your own depression and anxiety is to try and relieve the burden by taking advantage of day care facilities that are often run by hospitals. These centres can give you a well earned break several times a week. There are also many voluntary groups that can help you to meet others in your situation to form a support network.
The big worry you face is what happens to your child when you are gone. Some people will be lucky enough to have a large family and someone willing to take on the responsibility, others will not. Talking to Pinnington Law or another specialist Court of Protection solicitor may open your eyes to possibilities you never considered. You, or the person that wishes to take on the responsibility when you are gone, will be guided through the legal processes involved.
It is a tragedy when a child is born disabled, or becomes disabled through accident or illness. Accidents and illness can strike people down at any age, and they may lose the capacity to look after themselves. Luckily, we are a compassionate race, mostly, and live in a country with support systems in place. It is painful to see the suffering caused through the closing of many services thanks to cuts in funding but, hopefully, this is only a temporary glitch that can be put right soon.