Families of Children with Special Healthcare Needs Push through a Pandemic Mountain
by Nanfi Lubogo
As the world abruptly shut down due to COVID-19, the reality of the biggest pandemic of our lifetime began to sink in. In the beginning, many treated the situation as a vacation- a “Coronacation,” they called it. As days seemed to get longer, boredom and endless Zoom conferences became the order of the day. Most people accepted the “new normal.” School districts implemented distance learning and the majority of families were able to adjust and deal with the inconveniences that arose from things we’d long taken for granted pre-COVID 19.
However, in some households in Connecticut and across the nation, isolation, anxiety, and uncertainty very quickly set in. Families of children and youth with special health-care needs had to figure out how to explain to their child that their school, activities, or programs were shut down. They could not see their grandparents and friends. Parents had to figure out how to teach their child as their special educators would, dealing with difficult behaviors, anxiety, and depression that were triggered by these sudden changes in their schedule. Parents were doing this while balancing the demands of work, either remotely or in person for those deemed “essential workers.”
Why Oral Health is Important for Children with Special Needs & How to Access It
Parents of children with special needs may have so many doctors’ appointments that it can be easy to forget about preventive and wellness care. It can be especially difficult to focus on dental care. However, oral health is as important as physical health and, if untreated, oral health problems can result in serious complications.
You Are Not Alone: For Parents When They Learn That Their Child Has a Disability
If you have recently learned that your child has a developmental delay or a disability (which may or may not be completely defined), this message may be for you. It is written from the personal perspective of a parent who has shared this experience and all that goes with it.
When parents learn about any difficulty or problem in their child’s development, this information comes as a tremendous blow. The day my child was diagnosed as having a disability, I was devastated—and so confused that I recall little else about those first days other than the heartbreak. Another parent described this event as a “black sack” being pulled down over her head, blocking her ability to hear, see, and think in normal ways. Another parent described the trauma as “having a knife stuck” in her heart. Perhaps these descriptions seem a bit dramatic, yet it has been my experience that they may not sufficiently describe the many emotions that flood parents’ minds and hearts when they receive any bad news about their child.
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