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Parenting with a Disability

Dear Friends:

I know from the letters I receive that many of us are parents with disabilities or parents-to-be with disabilities. Parenting is a tough job in the first place, so having a disability to boot can be very tough going. Some of us are ambivalent about even getting started, while others take a pass altogether. Don't be intimidated. People with disabilities are used to doing things differently—parenting is just another type of challenge to tackle.

However, if you are a parent with a physical or mental disability or thinking of starting a family, let the following special groups lend their help and support. Help is out there. (Some organizations also offer support for children with disabilities.)

I encourage you to continue searching for resources in your area. Look for publications. Many organizations support the needs of children with disabilities and when these children grow up, they start families! My very best wishes to you and your loved ones.

If you have any consumer inquiries regarding disability or assistive technology resources, we can help you locate solutions. Please indicate whether or not we have your permission to print your inquiry on the Internet.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Through the Looking Glass
http://www.lookingglass.org
Through the Looking Glass has pioneered clinical and supportive services, training and research serving families in which one or more members-whether parent or child-has any type of disability or medical issue. TLG also has diverse publications on parenting-related topics you may order.

Exceptional Parent Magazine
http://www.eparent.com
Web site for EP magazine EP provides information, support, ideas, encouragement and outreach for parents and families of children with disabilities and the professionals who work with them.

Family Resource Center on Disabilities
http://www.ameritech.net/users/frcdptiil/index.html
Advocacy and resources for the entire family.

Equipment
Unfortunately, there are very few places selling adaptive baby gear (see the companies below). So, parents are encouraged to make their own adapted equipment or find new ways to use ready-made baby equipment. Through the Looking Glass and Disabled Parents Online offer many creative ideas (See the first two resources above.)

Flaghouse
http://www.flaghouse.com
Offers five separate catalogs of adaptive equipment. Order the one that's appropriate for you.

Hard Manufacturing Co., Inc.
http://www.hardmfg.com
Pediatric furniture, hospital cribs and youth/age appropriate beds. Call Hard Manufacturing for brochures describing their whole line of safe, accommodating, and convenient age-appropriate beds and cribs. Beds have hi/lo adjustment, standard or custom sizes, and attain all orthopedic and comfort positions. Styles come in a rainbow of colors,, epoxy finishes, and laminate colors.

Kidability
http://www.kidability.com/
Adaptive clothes, toys and baby equipment

The Boulevard
http://www.blvd.com/
Links to manufacturers of all types of adaptive equipment, including pediatric equipment-an ideal resource to bookmark for future use.

Pip Squeakers
http://www.pipsqueakers.com/
Here's an interesting idea - squeaky shoes for babies and toddlers. Pip Squeakers baby shoes are an aid for BVI parents & BVI babies. Parents can hear henever baby is on the move, always knowing baby is close-by and safe. Baby shoes softly squeak as each foot touches down, providing a parenting aid that promotes safety and a baby product that encourages first steps.

Innovative Crib Design
http://www.innovativecribdesigns.com
Adaptive crib producers offer a safe opening through the headboard, allowing easier access for a parent seated in a wheelchair. Company also accepts custom orders for adaptive crib design.

National Parent Information Network
http://www.npin.org

Natíl Respite Locator
http://www.chtop.com

Pacer Center
http://www.pacer.org

Parents Helping Parents
http://www.php.com

Publications

Adaptive Baby Care Equipment: Guidelines, Prototypes & Resources. This 2000 publication, a revised and expanded edition of the 1995 Adaptive Parenting Equipment: Idea Book, presents creative solutions, including adaptive equipment and commercially available products. The cost is $30 or $15 for low-income families. An 86-page soft-cover book by Kris Vensand, et al. Order from Through the Looking Glass, http://www.lookingglass.org.

Fun to Grow On: Engaging Play Activities for Kids with Teachers, Parents and Grandparents
The unlimited play activities in this book create enjoyment, sharing, and spontaneity and presents playful ways to really connect with children. No need to have special toys, all that is needed is yourselves and/or household items like cotton balls for cotton ball table-tennis or shaving cream for drawing on tabletops. Activities are easy and straightforward-flip through quickly to find one activity or a whole play session. Activities are appropriate for home, classroom, and therapeutic settings; grouped into simple categories, such as active, eating, dressing, messy, cooperation, musical, etc.: ISBN: 1-890374-01-6. Available through Magnolia Street Publishers 1(773) 561-2121 or at http://www.amazon.com


Please also see Infinitec's Parent Organizations page:
http://www.infinitec.org/totalresource/general/parents.htm