Should disabled parents have children? : LUSENET : Disabled Parents Network : One Thread

I'm doing a term paper for one of my classes at CSULB. If you have any information regarding: Disabled parents should have children. Disabled parents should not have children. Whether your information is personal experience or a good website, it will be greatly appreciated. All information needs to get to me by Saturday, May 15, 2004. Thank you. You can reach me at

-- Anonymous, May 12, 2004


Disabled Parents Network inevitably hear all too often from disabled parents about the very negative reaction that other people sometimes give to what is, for most able-bodied people, a very exciting and life changing piece of news “I’m expecting a baby! ” or “We’re trying for a baby!”…

Midwives, GP’s, Health Visitors and often even family members and friends react by saying:

“You’re being very selfish” or “How will you manage?” or “You can’t even look after yourself – how will you look after a baby” or “Oh dear. How did that happen? Do you want me to arrange a termination?”

Yes, these negative attitudes do still exist. Fortunately though, I think things are gradually changing. Of course, we also get to hear about disabled parents who have received very positive reactions and have been able to obtain the support they have required.

Disabled people do get pregnant. They do have babies, and they do manage. “Cope” perhaps is a better word to use, as often that is what they are left to do. Information specifically for disabled parents isn’t readily available, and where it is available, it’s often in an inaccessible format. Disabled parents are frightened of asking for help in case they are seen as “not coping” or being “unfit parents”.

The new Eligibility Criteria “Fair Access to Care” goes some way to addressing this lack of support. Where Social Services departments routinely consider parenting support along with other care or support needs, parents do receive the assistance they need to care for their baby or child.

Some authorities almost seem to go out of their way to avoid addressing parenting support needs. Usually lack of money is to blame. Suffice to say, it’s a postcode lottery. Depending on where you live, you may or may not receive the support you need.

Many disabled people are too frightened to approach Social Services to ask for support to care for their children for fear of being categorised as “unfit parents”; their child or children being seen as “at risk” and ultimately losing custody of their children. Unfortunately this fear isn’t completely unfounded.

Many Social Services Departments do not routinely work in a flexible and proactive way. For example, if Adults and Children and Families Teams were to work together, pooling resources and providing an integrated approach to parenting, many of the obstacles disabled parents presently come up against when seeking support would be resolved. It would also mean that disabled parents are not drawn into the argument of who should be paying for which elements of their support, and receiving no support at all whilst these arguments take place.

So that’s a little about the many issues which face disabled parents or disabled people planning to become parents, and some of the areas where Disabled Parents Network aims to inform and make change happen.

I have never been made aware before, during or after the birth of my baby that anybody felt that I was wrong to have a child. Many times I have come across people who have thought it was remarkable that I was caring for a child on my own. Even one or two misguided folk who seem to have implied that I’ve had my daughter to care for me. How wrong they are!

Disabled people often make better parents. They take life at a slower pace (well, most of them!), have to have a routine (which children like!) and have more time for cuddles and stories which is often what a child would choose over the latest computer game or video.

In able-bodied families, often both parents work long hours, have hectic social lives and little time left for quality time with their children and parenting. In fact, why don’t we question able-bodied people’s ability to be good parents? When we read so much in the press about failing families and disruptive children, perhaps some disabled parents could teach them a thing or two!

-- Anonymous, May 13, 2004

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