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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Parents With Disabilities: How to Prepare Your Home and Your Life for a New Baby : By Ashley Taylor

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Parenting is a daunting task for anyone, but people with disabilities may face special challenges that no one else can understand. Just like anyone else, you will have baby equipment to buy, baby-proofing to do, and financial needs to consider. You probably already have a home modified to your needs, but now you will have to consider how to also accommodate a baby’s needs.

Practicing Self-Care

Studies show that moms get an average of 17 minutes a day to themselves. This can quickly lead to fatigue, frustration and overwhelment. And while most parents are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their children, an overworked caretaker will not provide the best environment. That’s why taking care of yourself is more important than ever, and the activities you use to de-stress do not have to be complicated or long. Simply take a few minutes for yourself each day whenever you can to journal, read, drink chamomile tea, or any other activity you find relaxing.


Every parent has to prepare their home by making sure their babies have a safe home to explore and play in. The difference for people with disabilities is that you may want to prepare your home way ahead of time as you may overestimate the amount of free time you will have once the baby arrives. There is plenty of information about baby-proofing online, and you can also hire an expert in many cities to do it for you. But a few of the most important things to do are:
     Install child-proof cabinet latches and outlet covers.
     Keep cleaning supplies and medications in overhead cabinets out of children’s reach.
     Install safety gates in areas where your child shouldn’t go, or to keep them in the room with you when mobility is an issue.

Getting the Right Equipment

There is a lot to buy for babies. Changing tables, cribs, name it. But for a parent with a disability, you may even have to find equipment to help you care for your child that others don’t, such as a side-opening crib or a stroller designed to attach to a wheelchair. A lot of baby equipment can be modified to fit your needs, but others might have to be purchased. Assessing your own needs and being prepared are the best measures you can take before the little one arrives.

Finding Resources

What resources do you use already? When a baby comes along, you will need to figure out which resources you are currently using can accommodate a child and which resources you will need to seek out. For example, will you need help with transportation in the event your child needs medical attention? If so, will the transportation method you are using now be sufficient? Finding resources that meet your needs will be something you need to start doing well before the baby arrives. The National Council on Disability offers resources to parents with disabilities for things like government-funded personal assistance services (PAS), transportation, and health care. No one should have to tackle these challenges alone.


According to the U.S. Census, over 20 million American families have at least one member with a disability. Because of this, there are plenty of resources made available to people who need them. Remembering that you are not alone and that there are many parents who face your same struggles can be a lifeline of hope and positive mental energy when you begin to face frustration. Prepare your home and your life ahead of time and take care of yourself when you can. Parenting can be stressful, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be better than you ever imagined.


Erin Leyba, 2017, Joyful Parenting, 25 Simple Self - Care Tools for Parents -

The Tree House, Coping With Stress - A Guide for Struggling Parents

Kathleen Rellihan, 2008, 30 Ways to Baby Proof Your Home -

Tiffiny Carlson, 2014, 10 Amazing Products for Parents with Disabilities -

National Council on Disability, 2012, Chapter 13: Supporting Parents with Disabilities and Their Families in the Community -

U.S. Census Bureau, Qi Wang, 2005, Disability and American Families: 2000 -

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