Skip to main content

The Hood Magazine

Adding to your Family When you Have a Child with Special Needs

Mar 20, 2021 05:37PM ● By LifeScape

By: LifeScape 

Deciding to add another child to your family is difficult. It’s even harder when you already have a child with a disability. Here are some things to consider: 

  • Ask your therapists and doctors about your older child’s prognosis. If they may need more care in the future, consider what that means for your family.  

  • Does your child have equipment now to help them sit, walk, stand, breathe, etc.? Will larger equipment be necessary as they grow? Space can get complicated with a baby and all of their gear. 

  • Who takes your child to therapy and medical appointments now? Do you have the support to keep those appointments, plus the activities of another child?  

  • Do you have the support you need from your partner? Discuss the ways things will change with another child.  

  • Is respite care available for your older child? Parents do need time for themselves.  

  • Can your vehicle accommodate another car seat?  

If you’ve made the decision to have another baby, take comfort that many families have made this same choice and thrived. Here are tips to prepare for another child: 

  • Get organized before the baby is born and consider scaling back on commitments.   

  • Set up your support system. If a family member takes your child to therapy once a week, that will give you precious time with your new baby.  

  • Divide up responsibilities with your partner.  

  • Talk to your boss about any schedule changes that might make your life easier and keep you happy and productive at work.  

  • Getting around may be very challenging for a couple of years. Work with your partner to run necessary errands without the children.  

Finally, you need to prepare your child. Begin to integrate changes into their daily schedule and emphasize this exciting and important new role.  

Think of ways – however small – that they can help: getting a diaper, picking out the baby's clothes, or just holding the baby’s hand.  

Remember that their behaviors may regress. This is usually short-lived, however, and a little preparation will help them adjust to the idea of welcoming a new sibling.