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3 Considerations in Caring for Your Special Needs Children

Caring for special needs children (and adults) is an important and common issue in the United States.

According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 57 million Americans possess a wide range of special needs.  That equates to nearly 1 in 5 Americans [source]. Furthermore, 80% of people with disabilities are unable to support themselves through steady work [source].

Furthermore, the Census Bureau estimates that over 1 in 4 American families care for a special needs child (or adult). [source]

In other words, many American families face a special opportunity to care for special needs children.  They need to think about financial planning for caring for their child now and after the parents are long gone.  Parents also need to think about the actual physical care of their special needs child.  Here are 3 questions to consider:

  1. Should You Enlist Help or Assume the Challenge by Yourself?

    Most parents would prefer to care for their special needs children alone.  Yet, reality often dictates that they might need help.  You cannot overestimate the intensity of demands on your time.  Special needs children can place extra physical, financial, and emotional demands on you.

    Family caregivers can receive a breather from home-health aides.  One wise piece of advice is to discern between individuals who work directly with families versus those working for a company.  Independent aides often are less expensive to employ.

    Enlisting the help of home aides might even allow you to make more money to support your care for a special needs child.  Sharing the burden with an aide might allow a family member to earn outside income that more than pays for the cost of a hired aide.

    More complex situations might require an extended care facility.

    Investigate the variety of private and public resources available to help you through all phases of caring for your special needs child.

  2. Can You Trust Someone Else to Care for Your Special Needs Child?

    You always should research thoroughly any outside help for caring for your special needs child.

    Questions to ask individual caregivers include:

    • Their skills, experience, and education.
    • Does the candidate relate well to what your child needs?
    • Does the caregiver possess certification?
    • Ask questions pertinent to your child’s situation.
    • Look out if the candidate truly cares or else simply sees your child as another job.
    • Ask for references from other families.

    You should also interview a care facility with similar goals in mind.

    • Can the facility care for your child?
    • Will they care for your child with compassion?
    • Are there any accusations of abuse or neglect?
    • What is the ratio of staff-to-patients?
    • What is their call response time?
    • Does the facility offer round-the-clock supervision?
    • What sorts of activities do they provide?
    • Would your child fit in with the other patients in the facility?
    • Does the facility have accreditation?
    • What about employee turnover?

    Naturally, you also should seek references for a facility.

    You might also consider working with someone on a short-term, trial basis to verify if they are the right fit for your child.

  3. Is Your Special Needs Child Getting the Care They Need?

    Even if you enlist someone else’s help, you still have the responsibility for the ultimate success of caring for your special needs child.

    Having regular meetings with the caregiver and asking questions can help you answer this question. Feel free to volunteer time or participate in activities.  This is another way for you to understand the quality of care.  Your direct participation also sends a strong message both to your caregiver and your child.

    Getting to know other families with special needs children can educate you on best practices for caring.

    We would be happy to come alongside your journey in caring for your special needs child.


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