We ended the chapter 7 lesson discussing what we think could be done to make effective policy changes for families raising children with disabilities. Policy changes are good but so are the programs that serve these children and their families. For your assignment this week, I want you to find a program that aims to serve the needs of these families. The goal of this assignment is to tap into your resourcefulness in researching and finding programming that might be needed by a family you work with. At some point you may need to help a family find a program that educates or helps support them with raising a child with special needs. Ideally, I would like for you to research a program that interests you. Report back here with the following information:
As you will note from reading the chapter, the biggest risk factor that faces children with a disability is poverty. About 38% of children with special needs live in poverty. Researchers have not been able to isolate a causal effect for this phenomenon, but clearly this adds to the problems facing these families. Providing proper care for a child with disabilities is challenging in and of itself, but adding poverty to the mix causes families to face seemingly insurmountable risk factors. In addition, the care their children need is expensive and requires that these families have access to that care. Here, we are seeing elements of the health care needs of marginalized families – the need to be able to find the proper care and then to be able to afford the care and get to the services.
If a mother is a single parent, living in poverty and caring for a child with special needs, one particular risk factor is child abuse. Parenting a normally developing child in ideal circumstances can be extremely stressful. But when you dial up the stress to 10 on all the knobs (no money, no support, difficult parenting), there is greater risk to the child of experiencing negative parenting practices. Children with disabilities experience more physical, sexual and emotional abuse than normally developing children.
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