Why Impairment Identity Is Important To Explain To Your Disabled Child

Impairment identity can be a big help to you and your disabled child.

What makes us say that?

Well, one of the big things about growing up with a disability is that your disabled child can feel like the only person in the world going through their experiences.

What Is Impairment Identity?

This is why trying to talk to your child about the specifics of their condition, finding them role models and highlighting consistent things about their condition is important.

The Challenge

The challenge is with promoting impairment identity is that as parent, you are constantly trying to attach more and more unique labels to your child.

This is because, the more unique labels that your child has, the more support that you can potentially unlock.

So, the more labels that you acquire, the more that your child can feel that their circumstances are unique.

Conditions such as Cerebral Palsy are notoriously tricky here. This is because umbrella conditions such as CP have so much variety in them.

As a parent, it can be tricky for you to see similarities between your child and others, never mind them!

Children With The Same Condition Still Develop At Different Rates

This is why it is important for you as a parent to remember that disabled children still develop at different rates.

So..

Even if it appears that your child cannot do something that another child with the same condition can, does not mean that they never will.

Exposer To Impairment Groups Can Aid The Learning Process

It can be the case that exposer to the children with the same condition can aid this learning process.

The difficulty for you as a parent can often be that your child notices these differences and this can lead to negative feelings.

This is where you as the parent have to challenge your child conception of what is going on.

It is not that they cannot do it, it is just that they haven’t learnt how yet.

Try And Find A Range of Ages

Fears about the different stages of life can be common for disabled kids and their parents.

You can always find yourself asking questions like, “what are they going to be like when their older?”

Or

“How are they going to do this?”

From the child’s perspective, they can even begin questioning whether they want to grow up at all.

Or

They begin to feel left behind as other children get older and more energetic.

This is why finding people who share the same impairment identity across the age spectrum can be so important.

Seeing people living with the same condition across the age spectrum can help both you and your child feel more positive.

Where Do You Find Impairment Identity Groups?

This the trick, isn’t it?

Where do you find people who share the same condition as your child?

Well, there are number of places to look:

Social Media

Here are some ideas about people to follow:

Sophie Morgan – Sophie is a presenter for C4 and her social media tracks her everywhere. https://twitter.com/sophmorgTV

Mik Scarlet –
Broadcaster, Journalist, Actor, Musician, Access/Inclusion Expert & Wheelchair User. https://twitter.com/MikScarlet

Dr Frances Ryan – Guardian columnist. Highly Com’d Specialist Journalist of the Year. https://twitter.com/DrFrancesRyan

Emma Steer – Emma is an award winning blogger and Youtuber. https://twitter.com/WheelsofSteer

Aaron Fotheringham – Aaron is an extreme wheelchair skater who has taken part in Nitro Circus. https://www.facebook.com/AaronWheelz/

Organisations To Look At

CP Teens UK – “CP Teens UK is a supportive & accepting community for young people with Cerebral Palsyhttps://www.cpteensuk.org/

SNAPS Yorkshire – SNAPS (Special Needs And Parent Support) provides leisure support services for children with special needs of all kinds, and their families. Our aim is to support the entire family, by enabling the child, along with siblings, parents and other carers to participate in a shared experience of physical activity, fun and conversation in relaxed surroundings, supported by professional and dedicated staff. Our age range is from 1 to 16, although most of our children are aged between 2 and 10. https://www.snapsyorkshire.org/about/

Dice Yorkshire – We are a non-for-profit social enterprise based in Yorkshire that provides activities, events and services for people with a disability, predominantly adults aged 18 and above. https://www.diceenterprise.com/who-are-we

CP Sport – Cerebral Palsy Sport is the country’s leading national disability sport organisation supporting people with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities to reach their sporting potential and putting people with cerebral palsy and their families at the heart of everything we do. http://www.cpsport.org/about-us/our-organisation/our-strategy/

Whether your new to being a parent of a disabled kid or you’ve been parenting for a while, it can still be difficult.

So we’ve put together some key things to keep in mind. This post comes from our new product – The Parents Guide.

It’s Okay To Grieve

As a parent of a disabled kid, it is always important to remember that is okay to grieve.

You probably had some many hopes for your child that now are not possible, and it is important to recognise this and mourn that loss.

YOUR CHILD’S CONDITION IS NOT YOUR FAULT

Thinking things like, “I did something wrong
or what if I did this differently?”, is not helpful
to either you or your child. There are a million different things that can cause/affect impairment, and impairment can and does happen despite your best intentions.

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY

Your child will do things differently. They will not do things the ‘right’ way but they will do their way. It is important to encourage, support and play.

IMPAIRMENT IDENTITY IS IMPORTANT

Having an impairment related identity can be crucial to reducing loneliness and isolation, understanding their condition and overcoming barriers. By smartly using online support and looking around locally, your child can own their own condition.

BREAK THINGS DOWN TO SMALLER STEPS

Having a disability is one big problem solving exercise. However, some problems can seem so BIG that there is no obvious solution. For these big problems, you need to work together with your child and break things down and to their fundamentals. Things like travelling can seem impossible but if you plan it properly, it can be easier than you think.

THE DIFFERENCE CAN BE SUPPORT, PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Proper solutions to problems are often a mix of different things such as knowledge (knowing your rights), products (little things that can help) and proper planning.

Check our page for parents here.

Find more advice and information at: https://contact.org.uk/

Access to Work is government backed scheme that aims to help disabled people stay in work. It is one of the best schemes in the UK and can help you with things like:

Here’s The Catch

Like most systems designed to help disabled people, Access To Work can be tricky to negotiate.

Never fear though because we are here to help. We’ve put together a helpful sheet with some pro tips to help you get the most out of Access to Work.

You can find it here.

This info sheet comes from an experienced A2W users with years of experience. We’ve put it together so you can avoid the pitfalls that we’ve gone through!

Here is flavour of what you will find in the resource.

Claiming

There is no time constraint on when you put claims in. So for example, if you are claiming for taxis to and from work, these can soon mount up. But there is nothing stopping you from putting in a claim at the end of each week. Be aware of the time involved in claiming.

Doing The Paper Work

Make sure you sign everything, otherwise, it is coming straight back to you.

When You Reapply

A2W will not necessarily inform you when you need to renew your claim so make sure you are aware of the date by which you need to reapply.

If You Change Jobs

If you change jobs, you will need to reapply for support and resupply all previous evidence.

You can apply for A2W here.