How to Set Your Special Needs Child Up for Success

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Look into Federal and State Programs The government has many programs to help you raise your special needs child and get them the resources they need to thrive. If your family is considered low-income by certain requirements—these requirements often differ by state and family size—and your child has a special need that meets a certain level of documented disability, your family could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. This is a monthly cash payment deemed for your special needs child’s care. Your local Social Security office has information to determine if your family qualifies and for how much.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is another program your family may qualify for. This program provides temporary financial assistance for low-income families. The requirements are determined by the state, and each case is evaluated with different considerations. Although this program is not specifically for special needs families, many utilize it.

If you make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but cannot afford private insurance, you are most likely eligible for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Coverage may vary based on State determination of need and other factors.

Talk to Your Child’s School

The government requires public schools to provide special education for specific conditions. If you think your child may need extra support to succeed, talk to your child’s teacher and school to determine what can be done to accommodate your child and foster their success.

Many special needs children can stay in their mainstream classroom with the help of aids or accommodations, such as longer test-taking time, verbal reports rather than written, special reading support, and more. Even with these aids, some children may still need a different environment to thrive in their education. This is when you and your school should consider a self-contained or special needs classroom, or an out-of-district placement. All of the services should be provided if your child is determined to need them by district evaluations—at no cost to you.

Your child may also qualify to receive additional, non-educational benefits from schools such as social work, mental health counseling, speech therapy, and accommodating transportation services.

Set Up a Trust

Everything you do for your child is to ensure their current and future success and ability to thrive. Setting up a special needs trust may be an option to help your child when they reach adulthood. If your child earns over a certain amount of income in their adulthood, they will no longer qualify for governmental benefits set in place to aid those with special needs. If your child comes into money suddenly, such as when a close family member dies and leaves an inheritance, setting up measures like a trust helps your child budget and keep all the benefits they need.

Support Your Child

Above all else, creating a happy and healthy environment can help your child most of all. Let them know they are loved and cared for. Make sure to foster a positive relationship with them and try your best not to allow homework or learning stress affect the way you and your child bond and communicate. With your continued love and support, your child can be successful in school, work, and all their endeavors.

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