Understanding Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and What They Could Mean for Your Family 

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If your child or loved one has an intellectual or developmental disability, you have probably experienced some difficulties as a family. They could be with communication, education, or even just relationships. There are a few things you should understand when it comes to these disabilities and what they could mean for your family.

The most important things to know 

There are some things you can learn about and put into practice that could help you with your loved one who may have an intellectual or developmental disability. APMs (alternative payment models) are also an option to help you pay for medical care and other things that might be needed.

Helping them understand how they feel can go a long way. It can also give you some stress as a caregiver or parent though. Dealing with emotions with children without disabilities is often difficult and the added disability can make things more challenging. 

Keep routines 

Having routines is one of the best things you can do for a child with disabilities. They will be able to establish routines with you and be able to get into a pattern. Routines can also help them interact better with members of the family. Routines are needed for children with disabilities because it also helps them intellectually. 

Having them study at the same time every day will help them to know that that particular time of day is meant for studying and not for playing or doing another activity. This is especially important if you experience a life change. 

Having a large life change can affect children with disabilities more so than with someone who does not have a disability. If you move into a new home or a new school, give your child ample time to adjust. 

You will have to model behavior 

While this is true with all children and family members, it’s more important for children with disabilities. They are more likely to copy you and be in tune with how you act and respond to situations. If something stressful happens or an unexpected circumstance, stay calm and try to encourage everyone else in the house to stay calm. 

Understand that intellectual and developmental disabilities mean a child may experience stress stronger than others. Try and model behavior that shows stress can be managed and doesn’t have to affect the mood too much. 

Their education might be more difficult 

For children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, education will look different. They might have to be in special classes or even a different school in some cases. Keep in mind that not every teacher in school will know about your child’s disability and they might be unaware of the best way to approach it. Try to keep this in mind when you are speaking to the teachers at the school and work with them proactively. 

Also, remember that you will have to spend more time with them after school doing schoolwork and helping them learn. Try to encourage them even when they get upset or disappointed. Once again, being there for them is the best thing you can do. 

Strengths and weaknesses 

For both children and adults with disabilities, it’s important to emphasize strengths and not weaknesses. The person may already have some negative stereotypes that they have about themselves that will need to be overcome. This is easier said than done. 

Focus on their abilities and not their disabilities. Encourage them in the things they do well and encourage them to do them more often. This way they build self-confidence and see that they can accomplish things on their own.