Many parents who have children with special needs become fearful and uncomfortable when it comes to thinking about what could happen to their kids when they grow up. Unfortunately many parents put off future planning because of fearing what they may believe is the worst. I have come across many mothers who cannot stand the idea of their disabled children having to spend the rest of their lives in group homes. Sure, you want to hope for the best outcome possible. But you also need to be realistic. If your child has a cognitive or neurological disability like autism, there is a very high chance that he or she will not be 100% independent. I realize it is a very bitter reality for parents to accept. Especially for those who had dreams for their kids.
The sad reality is, many parents who have disabled children who have turned 18 end up in trouble. There is no help for parents with adult children with special needs. The reality of “I should have been more active with planning for his or her future” hits them very hard when they see they are alone. Waiting lists for group homes are long. The adult child will become more stressed and the parents will find themselves not being able to take on the responsibility any longer, emotionally, mentally and physically. Tragedies such as what took place in this article can be a scary possibility as well.
If you have a child with special needs, it is very hard to accept that thee is a strong possibility that he or she will need help of some kind lifelong. And that does not mean that your child will be unemployable and not achieve other great things. But planning is essential for so many reasons. What I recommend parents of children with disabilities do is contact their local community living organization. All you have to do is Google community living. Contact them right away, and they will lead you to the help you need when it comes to planning for your child’s future- as well as getting you the help you need. Make sure you are active with them, listen to the advice they give you, and act on it. I realize that the government regardless of where you live does not provide as much as what these families need, which was the biggest issue noted in that article. However, sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. Talk to your community service provider about organizations to join, who to connect with, and ideas you can execute to make life easier. Not to mention, don’t only think about your child’s future. Think about your’s as well, and the future of your typically developing children. The last thing you would want to ever happen is for your typical children to take on the responsibility of their disabled siblings. The lack of proper planning is what brings the worst case scenarios to the surface. Always hope for the best, but make sure you plan!