When you have a child with a learning disability, it's extra important to plan ahead and make sure you have the right support.
We've listed a few things in your child's life you might want to plan for.
Being a carer
Your caring role may be demanding at times, and it is important that you get the help and support you need.
Talk to the professionals you are involved with, such as your health visitor, portage worker or social worker, to find out what help you are entitled to. This may include, for example, a carer's assessment or short breaks. Many parents also turn to local support services at this time, for example their local children's information service or disability support group.
You may also be entitled to certain benefits. On average it costs more to bring up a child with a disability, due to additional costs of things such as clothing, heating and equipment.
The parents of young and disabled children have the right to apply for flexible working, including carers of adults.
Flexibility in the workplace can mean part-time work, flexi-time, job-sharing, staggered hours or term-time working. However, you must make sure that you have a contract of employment flexibility that covers hours, times and places of work.
Talking to your child about their learning disability
As your child gets older, you may want to explain their condition to them. If you choose to do this, remind them of their strengths and build their self-esteem, and let them know that they are just as good as anyone else – they just have a different way of learning.
Your child's education
Contact your local council to ask about early education and childcare placements for children aged 2-4 years. You can find out more information on our childcare pages.
As your child’s education progresses, it is a good idea to keep good communication links with your child's school. By taking an active interest you can support your child with what they have been learning and help to monitor their progress.
Transition into adult life
Transition into adult life can be a difficult process for both parents and children.
Parents have told us that services are no longer so readily available for adults, and at this stage it can feel like your choices have become much more limited.
Make sure you are prepared for transition by planning what they want to do in adulthood with them and professionals who work with them across their education, healthcare and social care.
Your child’s employment
There are now many more opportunities for people with a learning disability to find work. Supported employment offers employment and training, while Jobcentre Plus has a co-ordinated disability employment advisor to provide support.
Wills and trusts
We know it can be difficult to plan for the future. We can help by offering advice and suggestions about making a will, so you can be sure your loved one with a learning disability will get the financial support they need when you are no longer around.
How to get the support you need
Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at our online community? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.