Advice for Expectant Parents With a Disability

IMG_9494by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor (founder of DisabledParents.org)

Expecting a child is an exciting, life-changing experience, but it can also bring about questions and concerns, especially for first-time parents. These concerns may be even greater for parents-to-be living with a disability, who may be wondering how they can prepare themselves and their homes for parenthood.

The most important step is planning, and planning starts with questions like:

  • Is my home babyproofed?
  • Do we need to make changes to the home to make it babyproof?
  • Do we need to make changes to make it easier for us to parent?
  • What will I do when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need help?
  • Are there resources that can help parents with a disability?

Preparing your home can start with a checklist. Go through your home room by room to see what can be removed or added that would make parenting easier, such as adding a ramp to the nursery if necessary, widening doorways with adjustable hinges, and buying adaptable equipment and products like wheelchair-accessible cribs. There are also changing tables with adjustable heights.

Getting practical advice from other disabled parents is helpful, and look for support groups in your community that you can join. If there aren’t any in your area, online support groups are a great resource. There is nothing like getting advice from others with real-life experience to help you solve problems and make choices, from tips on how to breastfeed to how to deal with occasional bias.

HELP FOR THE HOME

If you need to make physical changes to your house or apartment, you may want to consult a home advisor experienced in making homes accessible. When evaluating each room, think about functionality and convenience.

Nursery. Does this room have carpet that may interfere with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches? Are tables and shelves low enough? Would it be more practical to have the baby in your bedroom instead of in his or her own room?

Laundry room. Are your washer and dryer front-loading for easy access? Do they have buttons and knobs that are easy to use?

Kitchen. Do you need to add a lower cabinet to store the baby’s formula, baby food, and other baby items? If visually impaired, do you need a talking timer, clock, or thermometer?

Security. Make sure your home is well lit, and you can always add baby monitors (video and/or audio) for peace of mind.

If preparing your home is a financial challenge, sometimes small grants or loans are available to parents with a disability, so check with your community’s disability service coordinator or explore online.

HELP FOR YOURSELF

While preparing to care for your child, don’t forget to care for yourself. Parenting can be stressful for anyone, so don’t feel that you’re the only one who gets overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of parenthood. Feeling stressed is normal, so it’s okay to ask for help.

Family and friends can be a great resource in times of stress. But if you don’t have this kind of support system in your life, there are community resources available, such as parenting classes, in-home parenting instruction, childcare, respite services, home-delivered meals/groceries, professional shoppers, daycare, babysitters, support groups, individual counseling, and group therapy.

Another way to care for yourself is to be mindful of your physical and mental health. What we eat affects how we think and feel. Exercise strengthens the body, gives you energy, releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can lower stress. A great way to de-stress is by taking up yoga or meditation. This will help you stay calm and focused during trying times.

Planning and preparation can make parenting easier and make you a stronger parent. If you need help assessing or preparing your home and your life for parenthood, a disability specialist is only a phone call away. Also, your baby will need you at your best, so don’t forget about self-care.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




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Too Hot Outside? Indoor Things to Do with Kids

things to do with kids in paIt is supposed to go over the 100 degree mark here in PA today, and that’s just a little too hot for me (unless I am on vacation on a tropical island somewhere down by the Equator).  Add to the equation a mid-summer, bored child and moving to a new area and well … need I type more?

So this morning I started to scour the Internet for fun, local things to do with my son, preferably air-conditioned, indoor fun or someplace where I can stay submerged in water.

Here’s what I came up with and I thought I’d share…. some are free, some are not …

Stumbled on this site which features tons of ideas:    4PAKids.com

Although this is titled “Rainy Day Activities” … it’s still a well composed list of indoor things to do with your kids and a great website to explore when you are looking for something to do with your bored child:   FamilyEducation

bored kidI came across this blog over at CafeMom … 7 Fun Indoor Things …. I especially like the “Build A Fort” suggestion, I can remember doing this as a kid myself, and I’ve done this many times with my son, he loves it.

Here’s something I personally did with my son last summer:  each week my son and I went through all the digital photos we had taken from our summer weekends spent down the shore, from our vacation, or just something special we did together as a family. We ordered our favorite pictures (yes, we had them printed!) and we created a scrapbook to give as a gift to my parents. My parents do not have a computer, so I cannot share photos with them via email (imagine that??) nor do they have a “double line” on their home phone and my Mom just got a cell phone a few years ago, a Jitterbug, it’s hilarious. But that’s getting off topic …

They, more my Dad than my Mom, always complain they never SEE the photos we take except when I run through them on my little camera screen and they need a magnifying glass to get the actual effect.  So .. my son and I spent our down-time/bored-time having fun making a Summer Scrapbook. We added stickers and sayings and made something very special. We gave it to my parents at the end of the summer. It was probably one of the most cherished gifts we’ve given them in a long time and it sits on their coffee table year-round.

If you like this idea and don’t have a lot of time on your hands, or if you don’t have kids and want to make a special gift for someone, an easier, less time-consuming way to do this is to order a printed book of your personal photos

There are also some cool places to visit that will keep your kids entertained and some of them even allow Mom to shop:

Giggleberry Fair at Peddler’s Village (Kids can play, Mom can shop, but not at the same time)!

Sesame Place  (Can get VERY crowded on days like today! So go after 4!)

Adventure Aquarium 

Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark  Year Round Fun!

Lazer Tag at Brunswick Zone – Parents vs. Kids!

The Crayola Factory  Worth the Drive!

Philadelphia Museums and Attractions at VisitPhilly.com

Indoor Roller Skating, Bowling, Movies (check your local library, sometimes they have free movies or classes for kids)

Looking for FREE things to Do? Click Here! 

Many fast food places (I know, yuck!) but .. many do have indoor, air-conditioned playground areas. I’ve found my son doesn’t eat much when we go there, he just plays and it’s up to me not to order the Big Mac for myself.

Many Philadelphia Recreation Centers have free pools that you can take advantage of, or outdoor playground with sprinklers.

If you have any ideas you would like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section!! And stay cool!Melting Witch Cartoon

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149
Main Office: 215.335.6900 x1726
www.KimSchreiner.com
www.PaRealtyWeb.com

Happy Mother’s Day

To all of the Moms out there, have a wonderful day .. You deserve it!!

Me and My Best Friend

It’s funny how when you become a Mom, you hear yourself saying and doing things you never thought you would, sounding like your own Mom. Just yesterday I told my son, “I don’t care that all of the other kids are doing it, you’re not!” – that was  straight outta my own Mom’s mouth! I didn’t think I would need this one until my son (who will be 6 in a few weeks) was a teenager, but I was wrong. He wanted to bring his DS to school.

Ice Cream Yum!

My son doing what kids do best!

Being a Mom has been amazing, scary, fun, happy, sad, you name it, it makes you see the world through a whole new pair of eyes. Any Mom knows that I do not have to elaborate on this statement.

I’d like to thank my Mom for making me the person I am today. It’s nice to hear your voice come out of me, I only hope I do as good a job as you did and my son grows up loving me as much as I love you.

To all the new Moms or Moms to Be .. welcome to Motherhood! Enjoy every precious minute of it. Time goes by FAST! You will be tired, drained, a walking zombie for just a little while, but those quiet little moments at 3am when the precious life you created looks up at you, their eyes almost thank you for taking care of them; it makes it all well worth it. It’s a feeling that can’t be explained, at least not in this blog. There is nothing like it.

Happy Mother's Day from Me and MiniMe!

My son will be 6 in a few weeks, it has gone by so fast. I am proud of him every day. He makes me laugh, cry, and sometimes scream. He makes me crazy yet grounds me at the same time. At the end of each day, he makes me thankful and makes me feel I am truly blessed that he is in my world.

Found this, thought I’d share! I think the shoe fits!

POSITION: Mother, Mom, Mama

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.

Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.00. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat (in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf).

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT & PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.

When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.