Family Therapy for children with Behavioral Disorders
Almost a third of children born will have some type of disability by the time they are 18. For most families, the child is not the only one who will have to learn to live with a disability.
The whole family will be touched by the disability. Therapy for the entire family will often be necessary to make sure that the child is able to integrate into the family life. When the diagnoses first comes, the parents are often dealing with shock and disbelief, but as time goes on, they learn to adjust and accept the circumstances. Many of them would benefit from some type of family counseling. This is very important because they are going to play a big part in how the child with the disability will be able to adjust. As the primary caregivers the role they play is huge and special training is often necessary and very helpful.
For the family who has a child born with an obvious disability, the realization will come quickly that they will be walking a different road then they had planned in life. Therapists, Doctors and special equipment will often be part of their daily norm. The adjustment is often difficult and is an on going process. Some families do not realize that their child has a disability until they are a little older. Autism, mental retardation and emotional illnesses do not show up during the first months of life. It is only after frustration and often denial that the parents are able to realize the child has some extra needs that they are unable to meet.
A child with a disability will often require around the clock care. They might need a special diet and help with toileting on a regular basis. It can also affect the family financially and that is just the beginning. The biggest problem though is that the parents are not trained to deal with needs of the child and often tend to over protect them. They do this out of love, but it is often detrimental to the child. Family therapy should involve not only the parents, but the siblings. They should not be forgotten in this equation. Often they will be asked to do some of the care and many of them will be the sole caregivers as adults for the person with the disability because they parents may not always be in a position to do it.
Family therapy should address feelings that everyone in the family might have and not be able to express. Low self esteem, a feeling of loss and helplessness are just a few that might be issues that could be addressed and talked through. Although most parents and children do not receive enough or any family therapy, it should be the goal of any good case manager to encourage this and to have it start as soon as possible.