Unmet Needs of Mothers with Disabilities

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A mother using a wheelchair alongside the river with her young child holding his backpack on her lap

The Disabled Parenting Project (DPP) has hosted two Mother’s Day Twitter Chats. In 2016, 152 people participated and there were 900 tweets. In 2017, 83 people participated and there were 377 tweets. Each Twitter Chat lasted an hour and revealed many key themes. Among the important discussions was a dialogue about the unmet needs of mothers with disabilities. The following are key themes and sample quotes.

Supports and Services

Several of the mothers wish that more supports and services were available for parents with disabilities.

  • “In-home assistance, affordable care (true w/ any parent), financial support w/out fear of losing benefits.”

  • “Not aware of Lamaze classes for disabled pregnant mothers, aftercare/homecare w/ disabled providers as part of team.”

  • “Natural supports often come from an integrated, inclusive community. These helps all families.”

  • “We also MUST have better policies. Parenting is an ADL [activity of daily living] and caregivers should be able to support.”

Information and Resources

Many of the mothers described the need for more information and resources concerning parenting with a disability.

  • “Checklists for daycares/pre-schools on how to be physically and attitudinally accessible for disabled parents.”

  • “Would love more resources on prospective disabled parents so I can learn about the experience when considering pregnancy.”

Adaptive Parenting Equipment

Some of the mothers reported the need for greater availability of adaptive parenting equipment.

  • It’d be fabu to have a company that modified equipment. I’ve seen directions but I’m not able to do crib mods [modifications] myself.”

  • “We need adapted parenting equip made to scale (and not medical). The 1 stroller/1 mom stories make the news but we need more.”

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National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities