All children and young adults need a yearly health check-up, teeth cleaning, and daily exercise. It can sometimes be hard to make this happen on a busy schedule, especially if you have a child with a disability or special health care needs.
Ask any parent of a child with a disability and they will tell you it’s hard to know if their child is sick or in pain. This is especially true if the child cannot talk. Sometimes a trip to the doctor’s office will turn up a new health concern that the parent did not know was there. The child may have been in pain but unable to say how bad the pain was. Children with disabilities might have delays in getting the health care they need.
Children with disabilities are 38% more likely to be overweight than children without disabilities. Sometimes, medications and physical issues may keep children from engaging in fitness activities. This can result in obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health issues.
Parents of children with disabilities may worry that their kids will get hurt if they play sports or take part in fitness programs. Some children may not be able to join in many sport activities due to their disability.
There may be other options, such as the Special Olympics, physical education classes at school, sports teams, etc.
Dental visits can also be very hard and stressful for your child. Sometimes a child has to be put to sleep in order to have their teeth cleaned. Sensory issues and even the way the dental office smells can make for a difficult visit. Finding a dentist who understands disabilities and works well with the child and parent is a must in order to keep good oral health. Good oral health is very important to help avoid other health issues later on for the child or young adult.
Making sure children and young adults with disabilities get routine services can be a challenge, but they are necessary to their health and well-being.
An important component to medical appointments is to come away with answers to your questions and to remember what the doctor said. Here are some helpful tips from a mom who has to keep up with 10 doctors for her daughter.
If your child uses a wheelchair, here are some exercises to help them stay healthy and keep muscles strong.