Problems with moving around that make it hard to pick up your child or push a buggy, or learning disabilities that mean you need help to read letters and understand advice, are examples of challenges faced by disabled parents.
Whatever your disability, you have the right to support from your local authority to help you in your role as a parent. The first step is to apply to your local social services for an assessment of your needs.
Many people also find useful advice and emotional support by talking to other parents with disabilities.
Practical support for parents with disability
If you have a disability, you may have already had a health and social care assessment. In this assessment, your needs are looked at by adult social services in your (local authority). A package of support will be agreed with you.
But becoming a parent may mean that your needs change. If so, you can ask your local social services to reassess your needs. You can do this before your child arrives, so support is in place when your child is born.
Find out more about applying for a health and social care assessment.
Get the most from your assessment
The first step is usually to fill out a quick assessment form, which your local authority will send to you when you contact them. It may help to attach a written outline of your needs to the form.
Think about all aspects of your needs, including your duties as a parent. These can include:
- looking after your child at home, for example feeding and bathing your child
- taking your child out of the house in a pushchair or buggy, or the car
- getting your child ready for, and taking them to, nursery or school
- taking them to activities such as baby and toddler groups
Depending on your needs, your local council might be able to provide you with support such as help at home for certain tasks, or special equipment such as an adapted buggy.
Online support for disabled parents
The challenges disabled parents can face are not just practical. While some disabled parents have the support of friends and family and feel happy in their role as parents, others may feel isolated and have difficult feelings about needing help to look after their child.
The organisation Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood has an online community where you can ask questions of peers in similar situations, and Netmums has a dedicated forum for disabled parents.
Find out more about the help available to you in the Care and support guide on NHS Choices, and look up the NHS disability support services in your area.