When you have a physical disability there will always be things that are more difficult for you than it would be for abled-bodied people. I can do most things for myself because my parents took me to therapies as a child which taught me important life skills that everyone should have but may be difficult for disabled people. Some parents will teach their kids these skills because they feel bad for them and think it’s easier to do every hard task for disabled people. Some disabled people are completely dependent on others because they do not have the strength to brush their teeth like abled people do. Independence is an important skill to learn that all disabled people should have the opportunity to learn but unfornately not all parents will put their kids through therapy to teach them these valuable skills In this post, I am going to talk about the importance of teaching your child how to be as independent as possible.
You won’t get embarrassed as easily- I was taught how to advocate for my needs at a very young age and it was one of the most important skills I have 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 causes isses my mom told me to tell her “I can do that all by myself” when she was doing something I didn’t need help with. I am glad my mom me the importance of speaking up for myself and not letting people do everything for me even though it’s hard because I would not be as independent as I am today if I never did things for myself. If I would have let that teacher do everything for me I would not have learned the skills that I needed to completed basic tasks and would have become completely dependent on others. I could have gotten away with letting people do everything for me when I was young but as I got older it would be more difficult and I would need those basic skills. If I was never taught how to dress myself or go to the bathroom I wouldn’t be able to stay home or even hang out with my friends for more than a few hours instead of a few days. It is highly helpful to be able to walk to the bathroom because not everything is accessible for wheelchair users and I am glad I have that ability. When you walk in the bathroom with your mom when your five no one ever thinks anything of it but when you are thirty it’s embarrassing
Moving out is difficult- Everyone want to move out of their parents someday even disabled people but it can be difficult when you can’t go to the bathroom without assistance. It is alot of work to be responsible for someone else’s bathroom and shower needs and if you can it is always helpful to teach your child basic self-care needs because without them we are completely dependent on others and it costs twice as much to move out. Some disabled people will always need around the clock care but not everyone will and sometimes parents don’t teach their disabled children how to shower because they feel bad that it’s harder for us than it would be for abled-bodied people. Showering and getting dressed is more difficult for disabled people but doing everything for your child is not the answer. Disabled people need to learn how to do basic things such as getting dressed or showering because without these skills it is very difficult to move out and live on your own. There are services that can help disabled people live indendently but all those expenses can add up and if you don’t need someone being with you 24/7 it’s nice to have that option because being disabled is already expensive. . You are not doing your disabled child any favors by doing every task that is hard for them but are doing more of a disservice because you are making it so we have to hire more people. Disabled people need to learn how to work through challenging tasks and you are not learning those skills if everything is handed to you on a silver platter.
It’s less work for caregivers- I love my caregivers and appreciate my caregivers because I can’t go anywhere without them and wouldn’t be able to have surgery without around the clock care. It is a lot of work to care for someone’s bathroom and shower needs which is alright shorterm but it can be a lot of responsibility to be someone’s full-time caregiver when you don’t have to. Parents sometimes think they are helping when they eliminate the struggle but the truth is you can’t take away someone’s challenges and the only thing you can do is teach them how to deal with it. When you let your child work through challenges do not think that as being mean because independence is the greatest gift you can give someone. Caregivers that always want to rescue disabled people and do everything that is hard for us are putting more work on themselves. If a disabled person truly needs around the clock care you should give it to them but not all disabled people need help to make a sandwich and you shouldn’t take away that ability.
If a disabled person is unable to complete a task safely it’s okay to offer assistance but you shouldn’t feel like you need to come to our rescue everytime something is hard. The most important lesson that I have learned in my life is how to dress and shower without assistance because it’s those skills that give me the ability to be home alone and not have to hire as many people if I were to move out someday. When you are a parent of a disabled child it can be hard to watch your kid struggle and you may be thinking that it’s easier to eliminate the struggles but you are acutally making it harder for someone. I have learned to work through challenges not by having people do it for me but by working through it on my own. Teach your disabled child how to be as independent as possible at a very young age because some things like walking have a very small window and you don’t want to take away ability that would make a disabled person’s life infinitely easier. There are some things that my disability will always limit but because of the screams my mom put up with when I was little going to the bathroom is not one of them. Are you teaching your disabled child independence?
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