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The path to raising a child with special needs

Author: Georgia Banks
Published: Oct 29 2013

Every set of parents or single parent has a different journey in the wide world of raising a child. The twists and turns are unbelievable, and are nearly impossible to predict until they happen. This is part of what makes parenting so magical, and it’s important to understand that your situation is unique to everyone else’s. One specific parenting situation that holds a very unique place in society is that of the special needs child.

Different? Most likely.

Expensive? Of course.

Possible? Absolutely.

Being the parent of a special needs child is a situation that brings out the true colors of the guardian, as their human-to-human caretaking is taken to the next level. If you’re in this situation, there are some ways to better understand what you’re looking at with regards to raising your child.

Like most situations in life, better preparation yields better results. When parenting a special needs child, this motto holds particularly true. The better calculated your strategy is, the better off your child will be in the long run. Below are some tips to help you get there, with the goal of putting everyone in the most ideal situation.

Create a team:

As you begin the journey of parenting a child with special needs, it’s imperative that you establish a support team around you. This can be people extremely close to you, a lawyer, a special needs consultant or even a financial planner. The point is to build a foundation of minds that can help you through what will be a challenging future.

Significance: You have started or are about to embark on a journey that will enable you to utilize your entire personality and knowledge to educate and care for someone that needs you most. It’s hard to do it by yourself, though, and an adequate support group is the most viable way to go.

Write a letter of strategy:

It’s wise to write a formal document detailing the direction you want the situation to head in, and where it has gone. Everyone that has any sort of legitimate influence on your child should follow the values and information within this written document, with the goal of keeping your child’s life as consistent as possible. This working document should also include all medical history, any doctor that has treated your child and anything else that could influence the care received.

Significance:It’s important to have a track record for any of your children, and is particularly important if you have one that has special needs. Take this into account and be very particular with your records. In the future, everything else will be much simpler and easier to trace, whether it’s you or someone else as the primary caretaker.

Develop a unique fund

Part of parenting is finances, and there’s no way around it. As a parent of a special needs child, you need to focus even more closely on these resources. This includes both short term and long term, as oftentimes these children carry similar or additional issues with them well into the future. Many people establish a special needs trust (SNT), which is a private fund protected from legal issues that could affect your child’s finances like your divorce. It also presents ample opportunity for people to gift cash into the account for your child’s future with ease and certainty.

significance: There are many types of funds that will help satisfy your individual family’s needs. This is one of them to consider. It’s also wise to consider several insurance packages, as financial stability often depends on the type and amount of coverage a person has. If you’re a single parent, insurance policies and protected funds can be your best friend.

Any parent is fortunate to have the magical opportunity of raising a child. If your child has special needs, your opportunity is the same, but the plan is different. While there is no default strategy that will apply directly to your unique situation, these are some ideas to help you get there.

Georgia Banks writes about life insurance for Suncorp.

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