As a family, I know how challenging this can be when you are a parent of a child with different abilities. However, it’s worth taking a look at… David is a wheelchair user, and sometimes it was challenging to do things with his brother and sister, but when we can do things together as a family, I feel we grow, and it brings so much joy to my heart hearing my children laugh together.
I suggest you make a list of what your child likes to do and work it from there. Throughout Covid, we all spent so much time together in our own home and, now restrictions are lifting, we all need to get out and enjoy ourselves.
If you are still a little afraid to step out there, try to spend some of the quality time together at home more meaningful. One of David’s favourite things to do is to get a takeaway at the weekend; we all make it our business to do that with David one night. If David is interested in a sports programme (formula 1), we all try and watch it with him.
There are so many places in Ireland that are wheelchair accessible again we try to incorporate that into David’s life. I feel it’s vital as it helps David’s siblings understand what he likes, how he likes to play, what makes him laugh, etc.
There is also a great level of security for your child because he/she is surrounded by people who know them best, which can make them step a little out of their boundaries and maybe explore more.
I have been very fortunate that I have had lots of support from the Irish Wheelchair Association. David has a helper who gives him one-to-one a few hours a week, which gives me the time to focus on my other children; it is a win-win situation. I know other services have this to offer as well, and parents do not know about this, so please ask your service provider if it is available.
Playing together as a family, whether you have a child with additional needs or not, is very important, and sometimes, we can lose this as our children grow older, so enjoy it while you can.