Updated: Aug 18, 2022
✦ We continue the conversations on collaborative care to support parents with disabilities
Last month, we talked about collaborative care, and our upcoming October 13th workshop on Collaborative Care to support Parents with disabilities. Whilst it is not only imperative that organisations collaborate with each other to support these parents better, it is crucial that providers collaborate with parents with disabilities themselves. And, in this collaboration, for each to recognise the expertise that each brings to the partnership.
Collaboration means working together. Put simply, we need to listen to the voices of those we are supporting. If we don’t listen to them, find out what their needs are as they see them, or how they see their disability affecting their parenting, then how can we effectively work together to help them transition successfully as parents?
People with disabilities, whether parents or not, are the experts of themselves, their needs and how they see different supports fitting in with their lives. As providers, especially if we work in health, we might be experts in understanding the maternity system and the many aspects of this. But this is where out expertise lies, not in knowing what lived experience of parenting with a disability is.
At disAbility Maternity Care, we believe in amplifying the voices of parents with disabilities, so that their lived-experiences are heard. Sometimes, it’s not obvious in what is being said – it’s in the subtext or understanding the meaning behind the words that we need to be listening to. We feature a range of parents voices on our website, and will be releasing our new podcast in the coming months.
Top tips for experts to collaborate with parents with disabilities
These top tips are taken from the words of parents with disabilities. If you are a provider, think about the ways you can incorporate these into your work:
* Don’t assume what I can and can’t do because of my disability – ask me first
* Don’t assume I identify as having a disability – I might see myself as non-disabled and want to be seen this way.
* Talk to me, not my carer or person with me at the appointment.
* Provide information at my level of understanding, and if you’re not sure, check in with me to get feedback.
* Give me time to think about questions, and to answer them (this is especially important if I have an intellectual disability).
* Ask me what I think will be the challenges in becoming a parent – I will know what these are, because I know best what I can and can’t do.
* Ask me what strategies I think will work to get around parenting challenges as I see them – I probably have some great ideas as I’ve been doing this for a while – often my whole life.
* But most of all, LISTEN TO ME.
In this video, Samantha, a mother with a visual impairment talks about mothering creatively.
If you are a parent with a disability, and would like to tell your story, please contact us at email@example.com
If you would like to find out more about parenting with a disability, navigating the maternity system, or increasing increasing your skills and knowledge to provide inclusive care, visit us at www.disabilitymaternitycare.com
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