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Factors that Impact on Parents with Physical Disabilities


In the contemporary society, physically disabled parents face a number of challenges ranging from lack of support from the government and inability to provide for their children in various ways. Other challenges include inability of parents to take care of their children in terms of provision of physical and psychological support. There are also a number of socioeconomic factors affecting parent with physical disabilities. An example of such an impact can be inability to engage in an economic activity that results into benefits to the children such as provision of basic needs such as food, clothing school fees and health care needs. Antle (2004) states that due to disability of parents, they rely on various forms of support from the government, the community or their immediate families for various needs which they can obtain on their own if they were not disabled. For instance, their physical disability may place them in a position where they are not able to cater for their health needs such as treatment.

According to Heiman (2002), the development of children whose parents are physically disabled suffer significantly. The essay seeks to delve into the factors that impact on parents with physical disabilities. This paper also explains the nature of physical disabilities that parents may have and the socioeconomic challenges they undergo in the care for their children or families. While the challenges affect parents with physical disabilities in the contemporary society, various solutions as well as policy issues that assist such parents so that they can live normal lives and their role as parents can be achieved. Lastly, this paper illustrates some of the socioeconomic factors faced by parents with physical disabilities as well as suggesting solutions to such challenges.


Forms of Physical Disabilities that Parents may Have

Various forms of physical disabilities may affect parents. In turn, this influences their abilities to care for younger children or take care of their homes and houses. An example of such a disability is mental disability. This is a state where the mental status of a parent is not effective and the parent is unable to reason in a rational manner during the care for their children. For instance, a parent who is mentally disabled will not be able to provide guidance to the children on the manner in which they need to behave themselves so that they become responsible members of the society (Johnson, 2000).

Another form of disability that can affect a parent is physical damage to part of the body such as damage to the leg or hands. Consequently, such a parent cannot perform certain tasks that are required to meet the needs of children. In addition, some parents can be faced with the physical disability of inability to hear or talk. Consequently, such a parent cannot communicate effectively with the children and may find difficulties in raising his or her children in a manner that is required of him or her. Communication in families can be greatly affected and the parent can have little control in the behaviours of his or her children (Law et al., 2007). Another physical challenge that might affect a modern parent is blindness. This may result from an illness that causes permanent blindness or a case where a parent is physically affected and becomes unable to see. Consequently, activities of a parent that require vision are greatly affected.

Challenges Faced By Parents with Physical Disabilities

Health Care Costs

An example of a challenge faced by is the health care costs that are associated with various forms of physical disabilities. When a parent is physically disabled, he, she or her or his children may need to undergo regular treatment in order to overcome such a condition. This results to additional costs by the government in the provision of such services to them. According to Prilleltensky (2004), in a case where the government fails to provide the services to the physically disabled parents, they are likely to incur personal expenses in the care for their personal health. This situation can be worsened when the parents have a low income or not employed at all. In most countries, governments have not set aside funds to cater for people with physical disabilities and they have to use personal finances to cater for their treatments. Consequently, they incur high costs while they also need to cater for the needs of their children.

According to Raina et al. (2005), an example of a policy that can be implemented to overcome this challenge if provision of funds aimed at assisting parents with disabilities meet their medical needs. For instance, it can involve provision of medical services to parents with disabilities at subsidised costs so that they incur only part of the medical expenditures. Another solution can be delivery of medical services within their home settings so that they do not incur bed costs while also enabling them to undertake their daily chores within the homes. In addition, the governments of respective countries can show concern for the health needs of parents with physical disabilities by providing medications within their home settings at no cost. These include medications that reduce pain and enable them meet their health needs and restore their health status.

Lack of Security for the Parents and Children

Contemporary parenting requires that parents must provide their children with physical security and act as refuge in case their children feel insecure. This is because in the contemporary society, children face different forms of threats such as kidnapers and harassment within the neighborhood. Resch et al. (2010) avow s that when parents are physically disabled, such as inability to walk or handle an object, the parent is unable to provide physical security to the children against aggressors or people who may cause physical harm to them or their children. As a result, children develop the tendency of being insecure and they are unable to live peacefully. For instance, it has been established that children whose parents are physically disabled develop the fear of engaging in particular activities such as playing with other children because they fear being offended while their parents are unable to provide security. For instance, it has been established that some parents may lose their properties such as land or houses because they are unable to protect themselves due to physical disabilities.

Despite these challenges, it has been established that there are solutions that are applicable in case there is lack of security due to physical disability of parents. An example of such a policy solution can be improving the level of security in the community with special attention to families where parents are physically disabled (Stewart et al., 2002). This is achievable through increased surveillance and informing members of the community to accord the right level of respect to all parents irrespective of their disabilities. Parents who feel that their families are at risk due their physical disabilities should report their cases to the authorities so that they can be provided with the necessary security.

In addition, governments should ensure security is enhanced among parents with physical disabilities by initiating a plan to educate the public about the need to be concerned about the welfare of parents with disabilities. It is believed that if such an action is taken, the public can be aware of their responsibilities to take care for people with disabilities rather than harming them.

Lack of Material Support for their Families

Contemporary parenting requires that parents must be involved in activities such as occupations that create income and can be used to cater for the needs of their families and children. Antle (2004) contends that if a parent is physically disabled, such a parent is unable to meet the material needs of his or her family. The result is that children may starve and their needs such as food, clothing, educational needs and shelter can be difficult to provide. For instance, a parent who has inability to walk from one place to another will not be in a position to go to work so that he or she can earn income to meet the needs of children. There are particular activities and occupations that require physical capabilities in order to earn an income and cater for the needs of one’s families or children.

When a parent is physically disabled, such a parent cannot meet the physical needs of children or his or her family needs. Despite this challenge, it has been suggested that particular recommendations can be effective in solving the problems of physically disabled parents to meet the needs of their families (Heiman, 2002). An example of such a solution has been the first priority for people with physical disabilities in employment positions during recruitment in employment. It has also been suggested that people with disabilities should be given lighter duties that comply with their capabilities. In a case where a parent is unable to provide physical needs of his or her children, such a parent should be provided with material support such as food, clothing and education for his or her children. The government can set aside funds aimed at helping people with disabilities. This will ensure the children of parents with physical disabilities accomplish their life dreams irrespective of the disabilities of their parents.

Exclusion from Major Decisions in the Community

Contemporary parenting requires that a parent must make particular decisions regarding his or her family. According to Johnson (2000), if such a parent is physically disabled, he or she is unable to make such decisions because the society will believe that his or her decisions are less effective in management of the affairs of the community. Consequently, such a parent may be excluded from discussions on the community and his or her family may be stigmatised. As a result, activities such as the share of government resources such as revenues may result into marginalization of people with disabilities in the community. For instance, national budgets may not account for the needs of people with physical disabilities and government support may be inadequate to meet their needs.

Law et al. (2007) assert that this challenge is achievable if measures such as representation of people with disabilities are implemented in national governing bodies of countries. Consequently, it will be possible to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people with disabilities so that their voices are heard. It is also suggested that during the share of resources in the community, people should not be discriminated against based on their physical inabilities. This will ensure parents of children with physical disabilities are not stigmatised during the making of particular decisions affecting them in the community.

Lack of Role Models or Discipline to the Children

Contemporary parenting requires that parents should act as role models for their children by acting in a manner that their children can copy their actions. If a parent is physically disabled such as not having hands to perform certain tasks, children do not have the ability to learn how to perform such tasks and they may not have role models. In the case of discipline, children whose parents have physical disability to see might not be in a position to know when a child has committed a mistake so that the child can be corrected (Law et al., 2007). The child may develop particular traits that are not preventable until the child reaches adulthood. Consequently, such children can become irresponsible in the community and they can be regarded as less beneficial to the community. In order to overcome this challenge, children whose parents are physically disabled should be allowed to participate in community activities such as provision of services that are important in the sustainability of the community.

Inability to Cope with the Pace of Modern Lifestyles

Notably, contemporary parenting requires that parents must perform a number of tasks that ensure their children are cared for while their needs such as bills are paid and they perform their routine tasks in an effective manner. Prilleltensky (2004) asserts that in a case where a parent is physically disabled, such a parent is unable to cope with particular pace of modern lifestyles such as inability to multitask in the caring for children. Furthermore, modern parenting requires that parents must introduce their children to various forms of technologies such as means of communication and modes of learning so that they can cope with the challenges in the connectivity with other people such as peers and teachers. If parents are disabled in any way, they are unable to understand the functionalities of modern means of communication and children can be greatly affected because they do not learn from their parents (Raina et al., 2005).

However, it is possible to overcome this challenge through provision of education to parents who are unable to cope with modern forms of technologies that ensure life is made less difficult. This can involve exposing disabled parents to these technologies or providing education to them as a policy issue. As a result, they will be able to understand the changes that have taken place and live modern lifestyles that enable them meet their daily needs with little strain.


This paper explains that major challenges that are faced by physically disabled parents in the contemporary parenting. It is found that some parents have the difficulty to hear, some have physical absence of parts of their bodies such as limbs, thus affecting their abilities to perform particular roles as parents. It is suggested that some of the challenges that can be faced by such parents are inability to meet their medical expenses, inability to cater for material support for their families and lack of role models as well as decline in their children’s discipline. In order to overcome the challenges illustrated, policy solutions are suggested. It is found that the government’s role is the most important in addressing the issue through provision of support for parents with disabilities. In addition, the community can play a role in ensuring the challenges faced by parents with physical disabilities are addressed. When the solutions suggested in the paper are implemented, it is believed that physical disability will not be an impediment in the achievement of the needs of parents with physical disabilities.


Reference List

Antle, B.J., 2004. Factors associated with self-worth in young people with physical

disabilities. Health & Social Work29(3), p.167.

Heiman, T., 2002. Parents of children with disabilities: Resilience, coping, and future

expectations. Journal of developmental and physical disabilities,14(2), pp.159-171.

Johnson, B.S., 2000. Mothers’ perceptions of parenting children with disabilities. MCN: The

            American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing25(3), pp.127-132.

Law, M., Petrenchik, T., King, G. and Hurley, P., 2007. Perceived environmental barriers to

recreational, community, and school participation for children and youth with physical

disabilities. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation88(12), pp.1636-1642.

Prilleltensky, O., 2004. My child is not my carer: mothers with physical disabilities and the

well‐being of children. Disability & Society19(3), pp.209-223.

Raina, P., O’Donnell, M., Rosenbaum, P., Brehaut, J., Walter, S.D., Russell, D., Swinton, M.,

Zhu, B. and Wood, E., 2005. The health and well-being of caregivers of children with

cerebral palsy. Pediatrics115(6), pp.e626-e636.

Resch, J.A., Mireles, G., Benz, M.R., Grenwelge, C., Peterson, R. and Zhang, D., 2010. Giving

parents a voice: A qualitative study of the challenges experienced by parents of children

with disabilities. Rehabilitation Psychology55(2), p.139.

Stewart, D.A., Law, M.C., Rosenbaum, P. and Willms, D.G., 2002. A qualitative study of the

transition to adulthood for youth with physical disabilities. Physical & Occupational

            Therapy in Pediatrics21(4), pp.3-21.



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