Access Centre is dedicated to serving disadvantaged individuals in the South Okanagan by offering help and access to various government and community services.
If you’re expecting a child with a disability, you may be unsure about how to start getting ready to accommodate their needs. Or maybe you’ve recently had a child with a mental or physical disability but you did not have the financial resources to prepare before their birth. No matter what position you’re in now, rest assured that it is never too late to take these steps. Access Centre shares the following guidance on how to take control of your financial situation, redesign your home for accessibility, and find the support your family needs.
Manage Your Finances
Whether you have a few months before your child is born, or your child has already arrived, there are certain fiscal tasks you’ll need to check off of your to-do list. Consider working with a financial planner to set up a [disability centered] trust or an RDSP account to begin saving for their future.
This is also a good time to consider taking on a side hustle to earn additional income outside of your full-time job. This will help you cover childcare and household expenses. Perhaps you want to offer consulting services for others in your industry or create a digital product to sell for passive income. You may also want to seek out freelance opportunities through online job boards to secure clients for article writing services, web development, administrative support, accounting, or marketing work. This is a great option if your child has already been born because you can keep an eye on them while you work.
Enroll In Additional Insurance
If you’re confused about how to secure additional health insurance coverage for your child, now is the time to ask questions. It is important to reach out to a supplemental health insurance provider as soon as possible to find out which treatments and services a desirable plan will cover for your child.
Renovate Your Home
The average home may not be totally suitable for a child with an intellectual or developmental disability. Perhaps you have time to renovate before your child’s due date, or you’re trying to figure out how you can make your home safer for your child as they get older. Depending on your child’s needs, consider widening door frames to allow space for mobility aids, installing an entrance ramp, and using adjustable LED lighting.
Depending on your home, it may be worthwhile to consider a basement renovation, particularly if it will open up a significant amount of space for you and your child to use. A typical basement renovation for an unfinished basement entails electrical work, insulation, framing, and more. Note, even an economy basement reno is still pricey, coming in around $23,000 to $31,000, in which case you may need to look into government grant opportunities to assist with funding. To help you navigate the complexities of finding out about grant or government program eligibility, connect with Access Centre.
Join a Support Group
If you’re still expecting, or you’re a new parent, you may benefit from connecting with a support group for parents and caregivers of children with disabilities. Perhaps you’d like to meet with an emotional support group in person, or get involved with a larger advocacy organization. Either way, finding other parents to lean on can be very helpful.
Finally, don’t forget to take care of your own needs, too. Many parents of children with disabilities overextend themselves for their family’s sake, but self-care is crucial. Focus on keeping your home clean, decluttered, and free of negativity. Also, prioritize getting enough sleep, exercising on a regular basis, spending time outdoors, and meeting up with friends when you have free time. And once your baby is here, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other relatives when you need it!
When you find out that you are expecting a child with a disability, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what your child will need and how you can start preparations. And sometimes, you may not have the opportunity to take care of these preparations until after your child is born. But when you have the opportunity to do so, completing these items will allow you to take better care of your child and yourself.
Special thanks to our guest writer: Lydia Chan
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