Monday, January 05, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I was struggling with what to title this post. Technically, I had written some of what this post covers in a prior post; however, there have been lots of news about program cuts, etc. and I felt like I needed to post again. The title I might of used sounded like the prior post. This title kept coming to mind. Can't remember if it was a song or a commercial but I remember it was a slogan from a few years ago.

In his recent program Geraldo Rivera called “The Waiting List”, Geraldo at least twice mentioned that he has been hearing folks talk about returning to institutionalizing people with disabilities. In a video on his Fox News website Geraldo talks about why he made this program and he also provides clips from his famous expose` on the Willowbrook. You can view that video by clicking here.

I know that news and talk about budget cuts is scary. The anxiety of “the nagging question” of what happens to our children when we are gone is why I wrote Parenting an Adult with Disabilities or Special Needs. With the concerns expressed by Geraldo and others we need to be proactive in terms of having people who will understand your adult child’s needs and be strong advocates when your voice is less available to your adult child.

There are things you can do in the meantime to protect your adult child. Instead of being stuck in anxiety over what might happen to your child, expend that energy on planning for him.

Some adults with disabilities are high enough functioning they could live independently but still need someone to check in occasionally. Generally, that service is provided by semi-independent living programs. If funding for those services were cut you could easily have a backup from your church or circle of friends. Instead of worrying about what might happen, think about who could provide a piece of what your child needs. It is amazing how much relief comes from being proactive rather than worrying.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Author of Parenting Your Complex Child (AMACOM Books 2006) and
Parenting an Adult with Disabilities or Special Needs (AMACOM Books January 2009) for a complete list of websites and blogs