When your child is diagnosed with special needs, it can be overwhelming, frustrating, and even a little scary. The stress (both emotional and financial) that is added to your life can be tremendous. Receiving proper and supportive treatment and therapy plays a huge part in your child's ability to maximize their success. However, there are many additional resources that may be available for your child and your family that can help reduce stress and give additional support throughout your journey.
Looking for these resources can be frustrating and very time-consuming, especially if you don't know where to look. Here are a few suggestions and tips on where to begin your search include:
Ask the Professionals
Doctors, specialists, therapists, and even teachers are great sources of information, can alert you to local support groups and organizations in your area, and can provide treatment options. Their expertise and experience in your child’s disability make them very valuable assets.
Research Organizations Specific to Your Child’s Needs
Organizations and foundations are also great resources for information specific to certain disabilities. They often provide scholarships and have access to assistive technology and devices that can help your child. Many of the larger organizations also have local branches or chapters in your area.
Do an Online Search
The internet is full of information that may benefit you and your child. Many online sources have a resource page which can simplify your search. An example of an online resource is itaalk.org, which lists hundreds of grants and funding sources for many different disabilities.
Join a Parent/Caregiver Support Group
Support groups are often an underrated but very useful form of additional resources. By meeting and talking to parents of children with similar disabilities, you may become aware of resources that are not well known. The biggest benefit of support groups is talking to parents who have similar situations. They may be able to provide inside knowledge about what is worth your time and what is not.
Sources: iTaalk.org | CSHCN.org | SpecialChild.com
A Helping Hand: Finding the Resources to Help Your Child
Shandy Marso, Contributor