by Scott Young, Ms CCC LNC
Being a single parent will always be challenging. If you are a single parent of a child that has a disability of some kind you may find that the challenges are even more severe and that you may even feel overwhelmed at times. There are, however, a number structures aimed at giving support to single parents with disabled children. There are also a number of structures in place not aimed at single parents specifically, but, from which single parents with a child that has a disability of some kind, can benefit. It is certainly challenging to raise a child with a disability on your own, but it is also very rewarding. It is also something that is possible to achieve, no matter how despondent or despairing you feel. You do not have to do it alone. There are plenty of support structures in place. Friends and family will also be more than willing to help you with your child and with the other needs that will arise.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) program has been described as an effective agenda for addressing the needs of the disabled population in the country, and it is certainly a resource that single parents with disabled children can turn to if they are looking for some help in coping with their situation. This program works by the government providing money to educational institutions to ensure that those institutions will be able to cater to the various needs of children with disabilities who would like to study there. For example this could be used to install wheelchair ramps at a school or to establish a special needs class. The money is very useful and, although this is not given directly to single parents with disabled children. It is something that you could campaign for or that you could make your local school aware of. Your local school may already be benefiting form this, so be sure to find out more. However money can also be given to qualified parents and their children in order to directly ensure that the disabled child in question receives adequate education and that he or she has the best shot at life possible despite his or her condition.
Parent to parent is another resource for parents of children who are disabled This group is also known as P2P USA. Essentially how this group works is that single parents who are struggling and who have questions about how to raise their child with a disability are put in contact with parents who are already successful at raising children that have disabilities. It is like a counseling session, except that the person who is ‘counseling’ you is speaking from a position of first-hand experience. You can willingly join this group, and you may also be referred. Matches are made between experienced and inexperienced parents who have children with the same or a similar disability. If you would like to find out more about this organization, which is national and can be found in just about every state across the country, you should take the time to visit the organization’s website. www.p2pusa.org
Scott Young, MS, CCC, LNC earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 1992 and has been a nationally certified Christian Counselor since 2003. Having worked professionally in inpatient psychiatry for 16 years and with children and adults as a mobile therapist, Scott specializes in family counseling, children’s counseling, parenting concerns, individuals with special needs, developmental and learning disabilities, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, anger, social skills, self esteem, depression, and character building. Scott has seen the importance of looking at each person holistically and considers all areas of health when working with clients. Scott earned a doctorate in Naturopathy in 2014 and offers a comprehensive approach to overall health and well-being by integrating counseling, botanical and herbal medicine, naturopathic and holistic medicine, and lifestyle therapy. Scott is passionate about working with children and serving as an advocate for children with special needs.
Scott is offering a 4-week Support and Guidance Series for Single Parents of Special Needs Children beginning Tuesday, June 9th. Click here for more details!
Click here to find out more about our Children's Counseling program.