Parenting with a disability. There are issues for disabled parents that normal parents don’t consider, understand, or even know about. It is a whole different sub-set of parenting, much like being a single parent has its issues that other parents don’t consider, understand, or even know about. Or being a LGBQTIA parent. Or being a parent born in another country.
Or even being a parent of a child with a disability.
Even within the sub-set of “parent with a disability”, there are different sub-sub-sets. Parent with a physical disability, or parent with an intellectual disability, or parent with a mental illness. The severity of the disability changes things, as does whether or not the disability carries with it medical and illness concerns. It is SO different for each person with a disability, that my friends with EDS who are not parents, understand my parenting with EDS issues better than anyone else, even other parents, and even other parents with disabilities.
This morning, I was looking for the number for Disability Services QLD, so that I can inform them that I have moved, and to get another Local Area Coordinator (and hopefully one less busy than the last, who still hasn’t replied to my email that we are moving – that I sent over a month ago!), and I came across this…
Imagine that you are parent and come across a new parenting website or page you hadn’t seen before, and these are the first issues that the website or page talks about… I know if I came across a “normal” parenting webpage like this, I would think the person HATED parents!!!
To offer a contrast, here is a screenshot of the QLD Government’s “normal” parenting webpage…
Much that is the case for “normal” parents will also be the case for disabled parents. Regardless of the QLD Government’s perceptions, I do not require additional information in regards to child safety, or financial assistance, or relationship breakdown, more than any other parent. “Any other parent’s” are also going to bring special demographics to the equation that will need consideration when discussing or dealing with such things, but I’m pretty sure if I put “parenting in Australia when speaking a language other than English” into Google, I’m not going to find a bunch of websites giving me information on child abuse systems.
Note – I do accept that far more people with disabilities are “dobbed in” to the Department of Child Safety than any other demographic, and therefore some LINKS to further information should be available. However, many people are “dobbed in” with no cause, and face the same issues, so such information should be generalised. Educating child safety officers should be specialised in regard to people with disabilities, but that is a different blog topic.
So, the question I ask is this – are people with disabilities SO bad at parenting that when discussing issues and tips in relation to parenting with a disability, the only things worth discussing are child safety, financial difficulties, and relationship breakdowns etc??? Really???
OR, do we face the same issues as other parents; do we face these types of serious issues in the same ways; and do we have other, less serious issues that we alone face???
Things such as – what do I do when I can’t take my kids to “normal” holiday activities because they are not wheelchair accessible? I get that I can’t play mini-golf because the very nature of it is not disability friendly, however my kids might like to give it a go, and they can’t if I can’t at least supervise them while they do.
Parents with disabilities face a multitude of questions with parenting that are not relevant to the “normal” population. How much helping is too much when it comes to your kids being your carer? If you have no friends or family to help out, how do you give your kids a normal life when there are so many places that are not accessible? Indeed – does it matter if you are never there for such things in any case? Or will they be just as adjusted and happy if someone else takes them, provided they understand it is not your choice, and you are the one organising it for them? At what age is it appropriate to go from hiding your mental illness, to disclosing it and being honest in an age-appropriate way???
There are thousands, if not millions, of such parenting issues that are relevant only to the disabled parent community. Why then, when I search for answers, all I ever seem to find is advice on topics such as child safety, finances and relationships???
Where is my real life parenting information for us “normal” disabled folk (and I’ll think about doing that myself soon enough if more extensive searches yield no results)?
This type of webpage presumes incompetence. It is offensive.
And I am pretty easy going as a rule.