When you are disabled life is hard and would be so much easier if everyone would do everything for you . My parents encouraged independence at a very young age which is why I can do so much for myself but unfortunately, a lot of parents feel sorry for their disabled kids and will not encourage this. Some people will see their child is disabled and want to baby them to make their life easier which will work for a while but as you get into adulthood you will realize your not able to do anything you should be able to do and life will actually be harder. Some disabled people are completely dependent on others and can’t do a lot by themselves and that is okay but a lot of disabled people can do an awful lot but just never learned how and that is mainly the fault of the parents for not teaching them how to dress themselves. Independence is not easy to teach disabled people because some of us are stubborn and don’t want to learn but is important for parents to teach their children for a better quality of life. In this post, I am going to talk about why you need to encourage independence with your disabled child even though it’s not going to be easy!
You won’t get embarrassed as easily- I was taught independence at a very young and it was one of the most important skills I ever learned. When I was in preschool I had a teacher that wanted to do everything for me and instead of my mom confronting her and causing issues she told me to say “I can do that all by myself” when she was doing something I was able to do myself. I am glad my mom taught me the importance of speaking up for myself and not letting people do things for me that I am perfectly capable of doing. If we would have let that teacher do everything for me I would have never learned how to work through challenging tasks and become very lazy. It would have been very annoying when I got older because I wouldn’t be able to hang out with my friends without my caregiver or even be able to stay at home by myself for more than a few hours instead of a few days. I love alone time but it just wouldn’t be the same if I had to bring my caregiver along whenever I wanted to see them and go to family events and need to ask for help for literally everything. Walking into the bathroom with your mom when your five is normal but when your late twenties it can be embarassing and people tend to look at you like you have two heads!
Moving out is difficult- If I ever made enough money and found an apartment that was accessible I could move out because I am pretty independent and can do most things by myself. There are some things that I may still need help with like going to the grocery store but for the most part I wouldn’t be totally lost with living by myself. Not all disabled people can say that and some people can’t even dress themselves because they never took the time to learn. You can still live on your own if you need to hire a bunch of people but not everyone can afford that and who wants to if there is a way to learn how to do these things and not have to pay someone to do it for you.
It’s less work for caregivers- I love my caregivers and appreciate everything they do because I could never have surgery if it wasn’t for mom taking care of me around the clock. Being responsible for someone’s bathroom and shower needs can be a lot of work and is alright short-term but can get old and tiring pretty quickly if someone doesn’t really need that kind of care. Some people need this kind of round the clock care and will never be able to do basic everyday tasks on their own because of their disability but some people don’t know how because they never took the time to learn. If you’re not teaching your disabled child how to do things for themselves you’re taking a lot of me-time away from yourself because they will become completely dependent on you so it will be like having a full-time job without the pay!
There is nothing wrong with not being able to do something and need to ask for help but you always want to encourage kids to do things by themselves if they are able even if it’s hard. Independence is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life and although I hated going to all the therapies to learn all these skills it was worth it in the end. There are still some things I will never be able to do because of my disability but since I can do basic self-care I can be left alone for a lot longer than some disabled people. If it wasn’t for my mom dragging to all those therapy sessions I wouldn’t be nearly as independent as I am today but probably would feel sorry for myself and quite lazy. I know it can be hard to watch your kid struggle and it may seem easier to just do for them and it is but really all your doing is hurting disabled people because when we have to do something ourselves which there will be times when we have to we won’t know how. Disabled people learn to work through the challenges by figuring things out themselves not by having everything handed to them on a silver platter. Some skills like walking have a very small window and you have to learn when your young or you’ll never learn it but a lot of skills can be learned at any age. It’s never too late to want to be more independent because there is so much you can do to improve your quality of life even if it’s not walking!
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