Family support

When you have a child with special needs you will immediately come into contact with a host of different organisations and services. When the baby is born they will be allocated a team of specialist carers who will monitor the child’s progress and development. Social services will also be involved in order to ensure your child has all the support and help open to them. The Early Support programme is a Government scheme which is designed to improve the efficiency and efficacy of provisions for disabled children.

Financial support

As a parent of a child with special needs you may be entitled to additional financial support which will help with the day to day care of your child. Details of all the benefits open to parents and disabled people are available on the Government’s DirectGov website and you can also ask your local authority for further information. Usually, once you have applied for payments they will be put in your account directly on a certain day of each week or month.

Emotional support

Having a child can be exhausting and can leave you feeling tired, irritable and emotional. There are several sources of help and support available if you need somebody to talk to or an hour to yourself. Try to get friends and relatives involved in your child’s daily life; this will enable them to form bonds as well as allowing you short periods of time to yourself. You may also consider childcare for your child; this may involve taking them to a nursery or employing a childminder; this can be daunting but it can increase their independence and improve their social skills.

Spending time away from you will also prepare them for school and will make you used to leaving them for periods of time. If you are struggling to cope it may be beneficial to undertake a course of therapy or counselling; your GP will be able to advise you on this matter. You can also contact the Down’s Syndrome Association directly for information, guidance and support. There are also several websites online which host chat forums; here you will be able to chat to people in a similar situation, share advice and tips and make new friends.