What’s Life Like For Disabled Parents?

By Staff Reporter, Parent Herald June 07, 11:57 am

(Photo : Zoran Stupar)

Millions of disabled adults dream about having children one day, yet they continue to nurse doubts about what life is actually like for disabled parents tasked with raising happy, healthy children. Sometimes, those who don't have any handicap are merely curious about their neighbors, friends, and coworkers who are successfully raising children from a wheelchair or similar situation. It's important to know that millions of disabled parents have successfully raised bright children who have gone on to achieve great things despite their handicaps, and that a wheelchair, cane, or similar device doesn't have to stop your dreams of having a child.

What's life like for disabled parents? Here's a breakdown of what parents with disabilities face daily.

Millions of parents have disabilities

"How many disabled parents are there?" is a frequent question that plagues many people. Finding reliable information in this regard can be difficult, after all, and those with handicaps and those without them alike are often interested in finding reliable data on this topic. Different estimates can mislead those seeking an answer to this question because not everyone agrees on what a disability is, and sometimes data sources can be confusing or straight up misleading in terms of how they collected their information.

It can be safely stated that millions of parents have disabilities which they overcome on the route towards raising a happy and healthy child. It's likely that there are about 4.1 to 9 million parents with disabilities in the United States, though this figure literally changes by the day. Those who are living with a disability can thus rest assured that millions of others have successfully raised children despite their handicaps, so don't fool yourself into thinking that you can't be a parent because of your current circumstances.

This isn't to say that life for disabled parents is easy - as a matter of fact, disabled parents regularly face discrimination which makes their job as a mom or dad harder than it should be. Many parents who are living with a disability face an uphill battle when it comes to keeping their children, for instance, as many vain and ignorant people falsely assert that those with handicaps are incapable of successfully raising children. If you're disabled and considering raising children, it's important to consider the battles you'll have to wage to assert your full rights as a parent.

If you're not disabled but are interested in supporting a friend, family member, or coworker who is trying to raise a child, you should learn how to be a better ally to those living with disabilities. More often than note, this includes listening more than you speak, and making yourself available to those who may need some assistance in getting around or shuttling their kids to and fro.

If others can do it, so can you

Life as a disabled parent isn't always easy, but if others can do it then so can you. Those who are worried about the struggles they'll encounter when trying to raise a child from a wheelchair or with a cane can rest assured; tools exist to make your job easier. Checking out some mobility scooters, for instance, can radically reshape the way you approach getting around as a parent, which can in turn lead to a better life for your child. It's important to remember that becoming well acquainted with local infrastructure is crucial if you're thinking about raising a child when dealing with a disability, as some areas are more wheelchair and scooter accessible than others.

You must also come to terms with the fact that children can be inquisitive and sometimes invasive when it comes to how quickly they spit out questions. Anyone who's spent time around a toddler or small child who's just learning to speak and navigate the world should understand how frequently they ask questions about seemingly insignificant things. It's thus imperative that you become comfortable talking about your handicap, as young children you interact with may be getting exposed to a wheelchair, mobility scooter, or similar device for the first time.

Remember that patience is one of the greatest virtues, and that being a successful parent with a disability entails answering questions that may grow tedious and repetitive. Raising awareness about parenting with a disability is crucial, however, and you'll soon find that many are asking questions only because they want to get to know you better and help you as you raise a child. Don't think of this as charity, either, as every parent in human history has depended on someone else at some point in time when raising their child - it's simply human nature. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child.

Life for parents with disabilities isn't always easy - they often face intense discrimination and uphill battles to maintain custody of their kids. Nevertheless, millions of Americans have successfully raised children regardless of their handicapped status, and you should never doubt your ability to be a loving mom or dad if you're committed to raising a happy and healthy child.

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