Jump to content


s/o Parenting With a Disability


Recommended Posts

The other thread has sparked some thoughts in my head. I haven't read the whole thread (It made me too sad) so this thread may be redundant.


If parents can lose custody over intellectual disability, what about physical disability?


What if the disability does not impede the care for the child?


There's an x linked defect in my family. My maternal grandfather worked a full time job his whole life and helped raise my mother despite being legally blind. He could see well enough to read the paper and balance the checkbook, but was never able to drive. He rode the bus and took taxis wherever he needed to go.


I have other family members with this same defect. They live normal lives except for driving. The choose living places based upon access to public transportation and "walkability" They are independent, normal adults. They've both travelled internationally and pursued higher education.


If they were to go to court for child custody, would they be at a disadvantage?


My son doesn't have this disability, but what about my future grandsons?


The fact that someone could look at an otherwise productive adult and only see the disability steams me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am legally blind, and the midwives and doctors when I had my first baby tried to push me into 'special' parenting classes and getting a social worker involved to help me learn how to cope because, you know, I wouldn't be able to see if the baby was hurt or something... It was pretty upsetting actually. 


I haven't had any issues now I have multiple kids, people figure I worked it out. (except for the ones who question how I can teach the kids if I can't read everything they can) But, particularly in regards to a baby or non-verbal toddler, I highly suspect it would work to at least a slight disadvantage if it came to legal issues or a social worker getting involved. Another possible issue is if the child was special needs and needed transport to doctors and things. 


Yes, I think some people frown upon disabled parents. It's very sad. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, like Ottakee have never seen this. Possibly this is because there aren't enough foster homes or social workers in Michigan to begin to handle the number of children who should be in the system due to abuse and horrific neglect so there doesn't seem to be time for "sweating the small stuff".


As for the original news story, I think there is a lot of detail that the general public is not privy to so doesn't get the whole picture.


It seems that around here the disability would have to be quite severe with clear signs of not being able to develop coping strategies in order for action to be taken.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend who just got out of court because she had cancer and her ex swooped in. She has a clean bill of health now, but he saw the only opportunity he was going to get and took it. The judge hasn't come back with his decision. I don't think she is going to lose, but anything can happen in court.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only times I've seen it happen were when medications, etc. brought the parent to the point of not being able to parent effectively.  Parent was epileptic, parent was knocked out by meds and not getting kid to school, not taking kid to kid's own medical appointments, and parent was not keeping a safe and tidy home.  (It was egregiously disgusting, tbh.)  Services were provided, and I think the kid went into state custody for a bit while parent was hospitalized.


IME, things come down to your ability to parent---Do you take your kid to the doctor when they need to go? Can you give medicine appropriately? Can you manage your finances or have someone helping you if you know you can't? Can you adequately protect your child from strangers who would take advantage? Can you get the kid to school on a regular basis?


It's not necessarily expected that you will be able to do everything on your own. It is expected that if you have a gap in skills that you have help to fill that gap.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the other thread and thought about the issue a bit.  It seems to me that a parent needs to be able to, in a pinch, handle normal baby needs on their own in some manner.  It is great if there are backup caregivers (grandparents, helpful doctors, etc.), but I don't think it is fair to a baby to entrust them to a main caregiver who requires help to meet their primary needs.  I'm not talking about a parent who needs to work and therefore leaves the baby with a grandparent during the day...I'm talking about a parent who could not be relied on to safely care for their baby on their own if the grandparent was unavailable for some reason.


It is exactly what we say about kids and pets.  Ultimately, a pet deserves an owner who is fully responsible for his care.  A 10 year old can "get" a pet and be "in charge" of its care, but the 10 year old's parents are actually the responsible parties.  If the pet is not fed and cared for properly, the parent could be charged with animal cruelty, not the child, because a 10 year old (or a 22 year old who does not function at an adult level) is not cognitively in a position to take full responsibility for another living thing. 


In the other article it said the baby's mother could walk and bike, but could not drive and was still working on learning how to navigate the bus.  If she had to, would she be able to get a sick baby to the pediatrician on her own?  Would she be able to recognize if the baby is sick and be able to call the doctor, schedule an appointment, get herself and the baby there in a timely manner, remember and follow the doctor's instructions afterwards?  It said she is not able to read and follow dosing instructions on medications, so that makes me questions if she could be responsible for a baby's routine health care.


In a pinch, if circumstances required that she care for the baby on her own for a day or a week, would she be able to feed and cloth the baby?  Keep her safe?  Handle emergent health concerns?  It sounds like for your grandfather the answer to those questions would be yes.  He was able to fully care for himself and his children even if he had to call a taxi instead of being able to drive.


Just my thoughts.


  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is threatened a lot more than it happens, but it still sometimes happens. It was a lot more common in the past when many disabilities were often hidden away [and disabled people suffered forced sterilization often], but it's still a 'red flag' in many places that a lot of disabled parents have to prove themselves against the ideas of lack that some able professionals have about us. 


In running and being part of groups for disabled adults, I've seen a lot of stigma and strange shock around being a disabled parent and sadly still some professionals who really do not like it.  Myself and many other disabled parents I know have had professionals either repeatedly threaten or actually get social services involved for things that would seem ridiculous if done to an able parent. Ableism makes it a difficult minefield to balance for many, some can prevent it going further, some lose their kids, and some of those will be able to fight and get them back. I've seen all three situation. 


Like abba12 said, getting past the concerns with the first baby is the big one for a lot of disabled parents - my partner and I had to deal with so many hoops and horrible professionals in my first pregnancy that became less of an issue with later pregnancies. Most of it had nothing to do with my ability to parent but my ability/desire to appear and make everything seem 'normal'/act as able as possible to them or my ability to be compliant to them.  I personally experienced social services being brought in illegally because a medical professional thought we hadn't moved into our new flat fast enough and were fine staying first in student housing and then with my in-laws while we finished with forms and renovations while I was 24 weeks pregnant with my first. Thankfully, I found out fast enough and could bring a complaint to the hospital and nip it in the bud. The differences between that first pregnancy and the treatment and later was quite massive, though I hit ableism in pretty much all my pregnancies but it was only my first where I was threatened and assaulted for it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...