Children with special needs are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, making it one of the most ubiquitous circumstances connected with these children. Poverty, which is already well acknowledged as one of the primary causes connected with a vast variety of societal problems, is in some respects an umbrella that is so big that it leads to the question of whether it is a cause or an effect.
In regard to the subject matter, on the other hand, we are in a position to say with absolute certainty that poverty is an appropriate way to summarize the existence of a vast number of contributing factors that reduce the likelihood of a family being able to provide adequate support for a child who has special needs.
It is impossible to provide a response that is generic enough to apply to all situations involving children who have unique requirements. On the other hand, there are a variety of methods in which you may assist your child in experiencing feelings of support and understanding.
1. Be communicative.
Be careful to discuss your child’s unique requirements openly and honestly with your kid. This will assist you in developing a solid bond with your child and ensuring that they feel supported.
2. Make accommodations.
It is likely that if your kid has special needs, they will require accommodations in order to take part in usual activities and achieve the same degree of success as their peers. Make an effort to make these adjustments as simple and uncomplicated as possible for your youngster, and
Poverty as a Causal Factor
Inadequate financial resources on the side of the parent(s) can directly contribute to the birth of a child with special needs through a wide range of direct physical stresses, including (but not limited to)
• Poor Nutrition: An inadequately-fed fetus is likely to be born prematurely or at low birth weight, both of which are definitively correlated with special-needs diagnoses.
• Neglect: Poor parents are significantly more likely to neglect their children simply as a matter of necessity, leaving them alone or with inadequate care so that they can pursue opportunities to pay the bills.
• Abuse: Poor parents are also significantly more likely to actively abuse their infants, being unable to cope with the stress of caring for a child while struggling with money and/or being addicted to mood- or mind-altering drugs that cause them to act abusively.
• Exposure: Obviously, homelessness or inadequate shelter is much more commonplace for poor parents, both of which can cause developmental problems in infants.
• Disease: Inadequate healthcare is one of the hallmarks of modern poverty; a child of poor parents is significantly more likely to have the earliest signs of disease go unrecognized — or recognized and untreated — until the opportunity for prevention has passed. This makes it significantly more likely that the child will die from the disease.
In a nutshell, households that struggle with persistent poverty are not only much more likely to have children who have special needs, but they are also significantly less likely to be able to withstand the strain that comes along with having a kid who has special needs.
Single Parentage, Poverty, and Special Needs
A large percentage, 8%, of children who are born into families with two parents live in households with incomes that are equal to or lower than the federal poverty threshold. It is important to note that over the past few decades, the percentage of children born to unwed mothers has skyrocketed to 38%, and a massive 32% of single-parent children live below the poverty line.
That statistic alone is enough to make one feel hopeless, but it is also important to note that over the past few decades, the percentage of children born to unwed mothers has skyrocketed to 38%.
This equates to an average of 22 percent of all American infants being ‘born poor,’ and as a result, these children have a greatly increased chance of being born with special needs, as was discussed before.
To summarize, if we want to find a policy solution to the growing number of children with special needs that are overflowing our schools, there is a clear place to start: with the eradication of poverty.
This is the area that we should focus on first. Recent attempts in Utah, along with a considerable number of tests conducted across Canada and the United States a few decades ago, have proved that we have the resources we need to do so; but, the political will to do so is lacking.
The Costs of Special Needs Children
According to a report entitled Expensive Children in Poor Families, of 2,000 interviewed families accepting welfare:
• In order to provide their child with specific clothing, food, transportation, medicine, healthcare, or child care, 45% of parents said they had to pay out of pocket for these items.
Families reporting such charges found that the average monthly cost was $143. These kids weren’t strictly seen to need anything unique, but the families did want “specific” items or services, suggesting that the standard options weren’t suitable for their kids.
• The average family supporting at least one moderately or severely disabled child had to spend enough time and effort supporting the child that they lost out on an average of $80 of working opportunity each month.
• Out-of-pocket costs that would have been paid by SSI lowered a family’s overall effective income unless they got SSI disability payments for their kid. As a result, 12% of families who would have otherwise been judged to be okay were pushed below the poverty line.
The Effects of Special Needs Children on Public Assistance
This section only discusses non-targeted forms of public assistance, which are the kinds of programs that are typically open to families who do not have children with special needs.
Although there is public assistance available that is directed specifically toward the families of children with special needs, that form of assistance is not covered in this section. The following are some of the findings from the same report:
• Families were more likely to receive assistance if they had a child with special needs, and
• That likelihood increased with each additional special-needs child, and
• Also increased with the severity of the disability each child dealt with.
To put it another way, and just as one might intuitively anticipate, the likelihood that a family will receive non-targeted public assistance increases in direct proportion to the difficulty of meeting the needs of a specific group of children, whether those needs pertain to medical care or the social environment in which the child is raised. Or, to put it another way, having children who have special requirements makes a family more likely to be eligible for and seek public help.
The study also revealed that there were only two major outcomes for families of children with special needs who went on welfare: either they left welfare but began receiving SSI disability, or they remained on welfare. Neither of these outcomes was considered favorable for the families.
The impact of having a child who is severely disabled was comparable to being dependent on public assistance at a level that was twice as strong as the effect of the family losing one parent. This suggests that the cost of caring for a severely disabled child is significantly higher than the income that would have been accumulated by one parent.
We have now seen how being born into a poor family is a substantial factor in children developing special needs, as well as how having one or more children with special needs, leads families to fall into poverty.
It should be instantly evident that this situation is part of a vicious cycle: being poor makes it more probable that you will have a kid with special needs, which in turn makes it more likely that you will remain poor for the foreseeable future. This is a problem that requires a solution as soon as possible.