It can be stressful caring for a child with a disability, so it’s important that you look after yourself.
By getting support for yourself, you can provide your child with the extra care they need.
Support after a diagnosis
Getting a diagnosis for your child’s disability can be upsetting. There’s a lot of information to understand. It’s important that you and your family get the right support, as you come to terms with your child's needs and changes you must make.
If you have recently found out about your child’s disability or developmental delay you may find the Informing Families website helpful.
Close family and friends can be a good source of emotional support. Some people find talking to a GP, public health nurse (PHN) or counsellor easier.
Although everyone's experience is different, it can be reassuring to speak to other parents who have children with the same disability or health condition as yours. They're likely to have been through the same emotions and processes.
Support groups for carers
It can be helpful to talk about caring for a child with a disability with others in the same situation. Carers can help one another in this way through one of the many support groups across the country.
Ask in your local health centre for information on groups in your area.
Family Carers Ireland runs carer groups across the country, which meet around once a month. Carers set the agenda and share coping strategies and local information, as well as emotional support.
Support for young carers
Young carers are children and young people aged under 18 who provide care for their family, including brothers and sisters.
If you’re a young carer, talk to a healthcare professional who knows about your relative, or tell your teacher or a trusted family friend. It's important that you get support to help you have fun, continue your education and care for your relative.
Contact Family Carers Ireland for support and information on activities, social networking and meeting other young carers safely,
Getting a break - looking after yourself
It’s important to make time for yourself and unwind. That way, you can recharge your batteries and give your child the additional support they need.
Ask a friend or family member if they can care for your child while you do something you enjoy.
If you can't find someone who can give you a break, talk to your PHN for advice.
Courses for parents and carers of children with a disability
Guidance and information from health professionals and sharing ideas with other parents may be helpful. There are parenting courses available in most local communities. Check in your local community centre, health centre or ask your PHN.
Children’s Disability Network Teams run more specialised courses and information sessions for parents and carers of children with a disability. For instance they could help with encouraging the development of language and communication or with managing difficult behaviour. If your child is attending a disability service, they will let you know about any courses that you would find helpful.
Financial support and benefits
As a carer of a child with a disability, you may be eligible to receive one or more benefits or entitlements.