Life for a child with a birth injury will greatly vary depending on type of injury, the severity, and how much damage the infant sustained. In some cases, an infant will go on to lead a normal life without the need for special accommodations.
However, if your baby has endured moderate to severe birth injuries that’s led to brain damage and/or physical disabilities, you’ll probably need to make home, educational, social, and in some instances, even occupational adjustments.
Life for a Child with a Birth Injury
Life for a child with a birth injury can be productive and full. Parents may need to make some modifications or accommodations to a general routine, but families affected by birth injuries can find happiness and balance.
It’s common for children who suffer from birth injuries to have a hard time with fine motor skills and with gross motor skills. That being said, you may have to change some things around your house to make an easier living situation for your child.
Depending the disability, there is adaptive equipment available to equip your house with. Other things you may need to consider include bath chairs or toilet chairs, and making your house accessible to creepster crawlers and wheelchairs.
At the very least, your child may have a learning disability which means that he or she may not go through normal developmental learning stages as quickly as other children. To that end, you may need to install gates at the entrances of stairwells to protect the child if he or she is not in a wheelchair, and you may need to permanently put out of reach breakable or harmful items around the house. This may be the equivalent of “baby proofing” the house, but for a much longer period of time.
Your child may require additional care accessories for everyday life. This could be something like a wheelchair, or could be orthotic boots, crutches, or braces.
If your child is in a wheelchair, he or she may require additional accessories, such as a neck pillow, cushions, or additional braces. Ask your child’s occupational therapist which accessories are best for your child’s individual needs.
Even the mildest forms of birth injury may require special allowances in education. Keep in mind that this not true of all birth injuries, as some babies go on to heal normally without any cognitive disorders, learning disabilities, or social and behavioral problems.
However for children who need additional assistance, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that all children with disabilities have access to special education, early intervention and any other services appropriate for helping them success in learning.
Managed and mandated by IDEA, the Individual Education Plan (IEP) ensures that each child with a disability has an individualized learning plan in order to reach their educational goals. Teachers know what your child’s disability is and what accommodations can be made to ensure an appropriate education.
Also mandated by IDEA, the 504 plan, named after section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities ACT, is an law that prohibits discrimination due to disabilities and ensures that students get special allowances (such as extra time on tests) that allow the child’s education to be relevant. Your child may require additional tutoring or study time to ensure that he or she is understanding everything projected for someone with that type of birth injury and learning disability.
Social interaction can be difficult for children with disabilities to adapt to. Discrimination and bullying should never happen to children with a disability, and teachers and special education counselors look out for these kids to make sure that they are treated fairly. Even still, children with birth injuries may find it difficult to interact if their disability includes poor or limited social skills. Some birth injuries require children to be wheelchair bound which keep them from running and walking with other kids.
To keep kids socially active, expose them to as many kids as possible. If you attend a church, bring them to youth events and let them hang around other kids. If you have a library near your house, attend story time or other kids events. If you have a kids club in your area, bring your child to the kids club. While your child may have difficulty connecting to the group as a whole, he or she may find at least one friend in these social outlets –and sometimes one extra friend can make all the difference.