Caring for a Child with Special Needs

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Our children are always in the forefront of our minds. In fact, they take up an enormous, disproportionate share of our thoughts and emotional energy. This reality can be sobering when your child has special medical needs. Severe psychological conditions, developmental disorders, and acute medical conditions represent the most common categories of special needs that children face. Parents plan their lives around meeting these needs, which can often require around-the-clock supervision and special training, countless appointments with specialists, and can involve frequent hospitalizations. For these reasons, it is incredibly important to work with a lawyer who will fight to make sure that the court is fully aware of your child’s special needs, so that your custody orders leave you in a position to properly care for those needs.

Parenting Plan Should Reflect the Child’s Needs

When determining the custody arrangements in you parenting plan, you and the child’s other parent must reach an agreement that allows reasonable access for each of you, but also takes a realistic approach to: (1) the child’s need for medical or mental health care and the capacity of each parent to meet those needs; (2) the geographic location of the child’s medical specialists and hospitals; and (3) minimizing unnecessary strain on the child or the risk of making their conditions worse. All of these considerations may factor into the court’s best interest finding regarding the child. It is therefore critical that you keep a comprehensive record of all of the child’s diagnoses and doctors, a log of their appointments and hospitalizations, any special training you have received to address your child’s needs, and a journal of your day-to-day efforts to care for the child.

Exercise Self-Care

Having a child with significant, ongoing medical conditions can be an exhausting and pressure-filled experience. When this child is the subject of a custody battle or child support dispute, your anxiety and stress has the potential to hit a dangerous peak. As important as it is to provide consistent medical care for your child, it is equally important to care for yourself.

Ultimately, your child is entirely reliant on you to meet her or his needs. Finding a trusted friend or licensed care provider can provide you temporary respite so you can run errands or take some time for yourself to simply see a movie. This means eating well and getting regular physical examinations by your primary care physician. Finding a therapist or a support group of other parents providing medical care for their children can help you feel less alone. Exercise or yoga can help you remain physically healthy and replenish your energy.

Contact New Direction Family Law

If you are experiencing a custody or child support dispute involving a child with medical needs, we understand the stress and anxiety that you must be feeling. New Direction Family Law strives to aggressively advocate a plan that will help you help your child. For more than sixteen years, we have assisted clients in North Carolina seeking separations, divorces, and child custody. Call our team today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation, or contact us online at our website.