Having a child with medical or other special needs can be overwhelming and expensive. Not knowing where to find resources is a common reason children and parents don’t get the support they require. I wish I could transfer everything I’ve learned over the past few years to you. My book is a great resource, but even it doesn’t cover everything exhaustively. Trying to address every challenge all in one place would have made it so vast and unwieldy it would’ve been unreadable.
To address this, I’m going to list a few places where you can go to start looking for resources regardless of what medical or developmental need your child might have. If one of the places here doesn’t help feel free to contact me through this website. If I don’t know the answer, I might know someone who does.
- Early Intervention Services. Children under three with developmental delays may qualify for free services from your state’s early intervention program. This includes qualified professional services like therapists and childhood learning specialists. It costs you nothing and depending upon your state it may be even more effective than services you pay for because the care team is integrated. In some places, they even come to your home.
- Social Security Disability. Social Security isn’t just for retirement. It’s also much less understood that children with disabilities may qualify for benefits under their parents’ social security. The benefit may vary from case to case depending upon how long and how much the mother or father has paid in. It’s possible the child may receive benefits for their lifetime including medical insurance.
- Hospital Social Workers. Social workers in hospitals have a wealth of knowledge private social workers don’t necessarily have. They frequently deal with families that need state and federal assistance. If your child is admitted and you’re asked if you’d like to be visited by a social worker, it’s frequently a good idea to say yes. Keep in mind that what you say to the social worker carries some measure of risk. You want to provide as little information as possible to get the resources you need without coming off as defensive.
- Large Local Churches and Charities. It’s common for those who are struggling to reach out to their local church or charity for information even if they don’t qualify for financial help. Asking questions may help you find more resources in your area. If one charity can’t help you, maybe they know an organization that can. If you have a large enough local church, they may have an excellent understanding of the resources available due to other members of the congregation having traveled in your shoes a year or two earlier.
The best way to find resources is to ask questions and network yourself from one person to another until you land where you need to. If someone tells you no, then ask them if they know of anyone that might be able to say yes. Resources are limited in many places, and someone may not necessarily volunteer the information if you don’t inquire.
The important thing is not to give up. No matter how overwhelmed you get or how frustrated you are, tomorrow is another day. Just keep trying! One phone call or email a day is 365 more contact attempts than you would have made if you didn’t try.