Are you a grandparent of a child with a disability who has recently come to live with you, or who has lived with you for a while? Would you like to learn more about the issues affecting you and others? This article will be discussing issues affecting grandparents, and resources to help you overcome the issues.
According to the Website Raising Your Grandchildren more than 6 million children are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. A lot of these children may have disabilities, which may worsen the situation. Below are 3 Issues affecting grandparents which is followed by resources to make your journey a little easier.
Issue 1: Financial Issues
In a study by Minkler & Roe 1993 they found that grandparent headed families have high rates of poverty, which is made worse when the costs of care giving for their grandchildren is added. This study did not take into account the increased cost of caring for a child with disabilities, which I think may cause more economic hardship. While there may be public financial benefits available for children with disabilities, many grandparents are not familiar with these benefits, and may not try and access them.
Issue 2: Health Insurance Issues
Some grandparents insurance may not cover their grandchildren, even if they live with the grandparents; or the insurance company may call the disability a preexisting condition, and refuse to cover the child or the disability.
Issue 3: Difficulty with navigating the special education system to ensure that the child receives an appropriate education
Many grandparents may not understand Federal and State Special Education Laws, which could make it difficult for them to navigate the special education system. Also, some school districts insist that the grandparent must have custody or guardianship, before the grandparent can register the child for school. This is not true, but the information may not be
There are specific issues that grandparents may have related to special education such as not wanting to offend special education personnel while advocating for their grandchild, not knowing what specific remediation the child needs, not understanding what school personnel’s responsibility is to provide services that the child needs.
Below are a few resources to help you with the above issues:
1. This document is filled with easy and practical information for grandparents raising a child with a disability. The document is: The Grandparent’s and Other Relative Caregiver’s Guide to Raising Children with Disabilities, and can be foun. The document contains lots of discussion about special education and also public benefits that a child may receive.
2. A wonderful Website Raising Your Grandchild has a lot of different information that could help you. This Website can be found.
While this can be a difficult situation there are resources available to help you on your journey. Grandparents can learn the about government benefits and special education, and can be very effective advocates for their grandchild! Good Luck!
JoAnn Collins is a successful special educational advocate for over 20 years and author of the book “Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game!” The book is filled with truths about special education, for parents, and lots of easy to use advocacy tips.