Every year, millions of children are born who will require some extra help throughout their lifetime. The CDC estimate that one in five under 18s have one such additional need, and for the vast majority, care is available; having a child with additional needs is hardly uncommon. For a parent who is about to welcome a newborn into the world with one such requirement, it can be a daunting time. If you can plan properly for the future today, you will make caring for your child a more straightforward process, and with a view of the long term, given them the best possible start at life.

Understanding your rights

While many conditions are unavoidable and a matter of either genetics or complications during pregnancy, many others are due to medical malpractice and negligence inside the hospital. These can have a huge impact on your care for your child in two ways – firstly, being aware of medical malpractice can have an influence on how you care for your child. Secondly, litigation against medical malpractice cases can result in awards that can be hugely helpful for raising your child. According to CBS News, medical malpractice claims are, on the whole, declining, but the success rate is up – indicating a healthy legal environment. Medical malpractice can cause a whole host of conditions that are simply not present during pregnancy; there is a clearly defined link between cerebral palsy and medical malpractice, for instance. In such cases, with the help of a cerebral palsy lawyer a claim can be filed successfully which in turn can help raise the money you need for assistive equipment and technology.

Adapting your parenting

Raising a child with additional needs can be challenging; nobody will think ill of you for thinking so. It can also be financially challenging, although there are a whole host of programs out there to help parents to cover the costs. What you must consider are the benefits. Raising a child with additional needs often requires a parent to spend time above and beyond the usual level with their child, and often for an extended period of their life. As a result, many parents who have raised children living with one or more medical conditions have reported an even greater bond with them.

Caring for yourself

Mental health is a very real thing, and parents are likely to encounter mental health conditions. A 2011 study published by the Journal of Women’s Health found that one in ten American mothers had experienced depression within the past year, with a significant proportion citing parenting pressures as part of their condition. Looking after yourself will help you to look after your child. Look to speak often to friends and support workers; consider therapy; and don’t feel like you’re too busy to care for your own problems. Aside from anything else, this will give your children the best chance, as they’ll receive the best care they can.

Ultimately, providing the best possible care is what it falls down to. When your child has additional needs, you have to think a little harder about what that means. Doing your best and looking for the right support will go a long way.