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Raising Children as Disabled Parents Guest Post by Ashley Taylor

I am so blessed to have two healthy children, and at the same time, I am humbled and thankful, as all this can be taken away at any given moment. So, please, meet my guest Ashley Taylor, who will share with you a story of courage and success. Ashley Taylor is a disabled mother of two wonderful, amazing, energetic children. She met her husband, Tom, while doing physical therapy. Tom had suffered a spinal cord injury due to a car accident and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Ashley and Tom knew they wanted children and knew they would have to adapt their lives and home in order to make this dream come true. Ashley is happy to say that they are the proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life. Through this article, Ashley wishes to show her gratitude to the universe for all the ways they have been blessed as a family!

Hopefully, this article can help people with disabilities on how they can prepare their lives and their homes for parenthood.

 

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Raising Children as Disabled Parents,

by Ashley Taylor


Preparing a home for a newborn can be difficult for any parent, but especially so if you have a
disability. According to 2012 census statistics, nearly 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a disability.
That’s almost 19 percent of the U.S. population or 56.7 million people. Meanwhile, data from
the same year revealed that 1 in 10 kids in the U.S. have a parent with a disability. In this context,
a disability might include chronic or untreated pain, being bound to a wheelchair, or having
difficulty seeing, hearing, lifting or grasping. So if you or your partner have a disability and are
about to start a family, here is some advice to prepare your lives and homes for parenthood.

Resources


First off, if you’re a disabled parent, keep in mind that you’re not alone. Databases of resources
for disabled parents exist online. The American Psychological Association, for instance, offers
programs like “Through the Looking Glass,” “Parents with Disabilities Online,” “Disability
Resources on the Internet,” and “Project Star Parents with Disabilities Program.” With a few
clicks, you should be able to uncover parenting tips, referral resources, and family support
networks. Other websites list fact sheets on disabilities, know-your- rights advocacy materials,
and information on adoption, legal issues, and child custody.

 

Preparation


Planning for a newborn as a disabled parent is, in many ways, no different than it is for a parent
without a disability. Routinize these habits into your schedule as you’re preparing for your baby: first off, sleep. You won’t be sleeping much once the child gets here, so make sure you stock
up on rest now. Set aside a fund for your baby’s expenses. Consult your doctor and dentist to
make sure that you’re healthy before giving birth. As the delivery date approaches, fill up your pantry, stash away frozen meals and clear out a few shelves in your refrigerator for bottles of
breast milk (or formula) so that you’ll be prepared at all hours whenever your newborn gets
hungry.

Outside of the home, cultivate a strong support network, so that once your newborn does arrive,
you can rely on family, friends, neighbors, babysitter, and others for assistance. Feel free to ask
your parents to bring over a home-cooked meal once in awhile. Invite a relative or trusted friend
to play with your newborn so that you can sleep for an hour or two. You never want people to
feel used, but if you’re just asking for a favor or two, you’ll probably discover that your loved
ones are happy to help.

Home Preparation


Just as important as surrounding yourself with friends and family is preparing your home for a
newborn. Some accessibility features you might consider putting in include replacing steps with
a ramp, installing skid-resistant flooring, or purchasing expandable hinges for doorways. Also, if
your room is next to the nursery, you might consider knocking down the wall between the two.
Especially if your disability impairs your ability to move, this modification will help you get to your baby quicker if it wakes you up wailing in the night. Alternately, try sleeping with your child, or placing its cradle or bassinet alongside your bed. Raising a child takes hard work, no less for people with disabilities than for anybody else. But be sure to consult the resources available to you and make any changes necessary to your home to maximize its accessibility so that you’re prepared for this first phase of parenthood.

Please, know that you are not alone! Should you have any questions, please visit Ashley's website here. Also, leave a comment. Would love to hear your thoughts. 

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