Fostering a Disabled Child
Fostering a disabled child encourages matching the role of foster carer with that of caring for a child who is mentally or physically disabled or who has special health needs. Trust yourself to cope. Give the child a solid chance at a happier, more productive life, and possibly a chance to overcome some past trauma. Over time, you will come to see how rewarding it is to foster a disabled child.
What Qualities do you Need?
The most important skill you need to foster a disabled child is the willingness to learn something altogether new. You also need a deep understanding of how the child is affected by the disability and the patience to allow them to move at their own pace, whether physically or with their school work.
Fostering Placements for Disabled Children
The number of disabled children entering foster care is growing. There is thus an urgent need for foster carers willing to care for disabled children. Foster agencies are burdened with the need to find suitable foster carers with safe homes to offer to such a child.
Foster children can be placed in short-term or long-term foster care. Short breaks and respite care are offered to foster carers to allow them some downtime for rest and recuperation. Thus, foster carers are supported when they sign up for taking care of disabled foster children.
Foster children with disabilities have a need to form friendships with children who are not disabled, as well as those who are also disabled. Foster carers need to encourage their disabled foster children to socialise and so overcome loneliness.
Decision-making and Independence
Foster carers need to allow their foster children to do as much as they can and to strive for independence. Use every opportunity to teach your disabled foster child new skills, such as managing a budget and planning meals. This helps the child manage many aspects of their lives.
Also, teach the child to be accountable for their decisions. Initially, these can be small ones, such as what clothes to wear every day. Being responsible for small tasks will strengthen their independence if these are chosen carefully.
Deal With Frustration Appropriately
Children who have disabilities can sometimes get quite worked up when they struggle to complete tasks and follow through on a set of instructions. Avoid giving your foster child too many things at once to remember and carry out. Keep instructions and information within their means and spelled out according to their ability to grasp. If they need help, you can assist, but don’t be quick to jump in or take over what they can manage. Encourage the child to take it slowly.
Connect with Other Foster Carers Who Look After Disabled Children.
Comparing notes with other foster carers who have foster children with disabilities can instantly allay your own fears and concerns. You may both be facing similar events and can advise each other.
Fostering children with disabilities need not be a lonely road. Your fostering agency can put you in touch with other foster carers looking after disabled children. Stories can be exchanged, and you can learn new strategies from each other.
Make a difference in the life of a child who truly needs it.