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Illnesses and Disabilities
Parents with disabilities
Having a disability does not keep a woman from being a capable, loving parent. Mothers with disabilities face the same challenges of raising children as all parents. Yet, parents with disabilities also can have unique needs and concerns. According to "Challenges and Strategies of Disabled Parents: Findings From a National Survey of Parents With Disabilities," the most challenging aspects of parenting with a disability reported include:
- Physical exertion
- Doing everything that needs to get done
- Social messages given to children
- Keeping up with children
- Maintaining continuity in children's lives
- Limited income
- Participation in school events
And like all parents, parents with disabilities find that raising children can be a true pleasure. According to the same survey, parents with disabilities reported these positive aspects of their unique parenting situation:
- Child learns compassion
- Child is more open-minded towards others
- More time with kids
- Child is more resourceful
From one day to the next, the challenges you face as a parent might involve your disability, a phase your child is going through, or a little of both. Keep in mind that all parents need help with some aspect of parenting at some time. The Parent Empowerment Network connects parents with disabilities who want to share their experiences and learn from one another.
Despite the fact that people with disabilities are good parents, they often face stigma surrounding their ability to parent. In some cases, children are removed from safe and loving homes for no good or just reason. The Through the Looking Glass Legal Program can help parents with disabilities who are facing custody issues. The resources below also can provide you with information on pregnancy, parenting, and legal, medical, and social services.
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More information on Parents with disabilities
Explore other publications and websites
A Health Handbook for Women With Disabilities (Copyright © Hesperian Foundation) - This comprehensive health book for women with disabilities features chapters on understanding and taking care of your body, growing older with a disability, abuse, violence, self-defense, and much more.
Adaptive/Adaptable Parenting Products (Copyright © Parents with Disabilities Online) - This page describes products and solutions for making independent parenting possible for people with disabilities.
Parenting Concerns for the Mother With Epilepsy (Copyright © Epilepsy Foundation) - This fact sheet discusses safety during and after pregnancy, breastfeeding safety, the best way to place a diaper on a baby, and how to keep the baby safe during a mother's seizures.
Parenting With a Disability (Copyright © NC Office on Disability and Health) - This publication discusses some of the difficulties parents with disabilities face, such as finding accessible parking while dropping off their children, accessibility to recreational activities outside the home, keeping up with errands and appointments, and more.
Parents With Disabilities Online: Our Stories (Copyright © Parents with Disabilities Online) - This publication includes stories by parents with disabilities, who share the joys of parenthood and some of the difficulties disabled parents face.
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Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
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