Going through a divorce is tough. What makes it even more difficult is to survive one when you have a special needs child. If you are the custodial parent, you quickly realize that it is all up to you—your child’s health, education and long-term planning for the future. Being alone in all of this can be daunting and overwhelming.
Your child has special needs, and you’re struggling with what that means, how to best help him or her, and how you will be able to handle it all financially. Your emotions are swirling and suddenly you have to decode the foreign language of IHSS and IEPs. You are also worried that your school isn’t doing enough, or doing the right things, for your child.
First of all, please know that you are not alone. There are many other parents in the same situation, and there are people out there with answers who want to help.
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you may suffer from constantly worrying that you don’t have enough money to provide the best care for your child—or you fear that you will face bankruptcy from all the bills. Diagnoses such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may need equipment, services and care that may not be covered by health plans or private extended health insurance. Plus, coverage varies, depending on the diagnosis. Many families go without or wait for years to get services that would have been beneficial if used earlier. For the parents of kids with special needs, the gap is wide: So many are forced to cobble together a plan to help their children, often at great financial and personal expense.
Being a parent is tough. Let’s face it, your life has changed dramatically. But parenting a child with special needs brings additional challenges—ones you weren’t expecting, and others you find are absolutely devastating. Even more disconcerting, are when your friends and sometimes your family, clearly don’t comprehend the challenges you are now facing. It’s hard when you’re trying to be strong for your children every minute of the day. The fight is real, and after speaking with other parents who are also struggling, you’ll discover that there is common ground.
If you are a parent with a special needs child, you know how expensive life can be. Deciding to spend money on a service for your child can sometimes mean not using that money on another need for your family. There are a countless number of choices you must make on a day-to-day basis, and there are times when the decisions become overwhelming. How do you know when you are doing the right thing? And even worse, sometimes it seems as though there are not any good options, or the choices seem too complex and daunting.