Some parents change their parenting philosophy for a child with disabilities. There is no reason to discipline the child. Everyone can just make exceptions for him. There is no reason to work with him academically. He's never going to be able to hold a job anyway. There's no reason to teach him life skills. He's going to live with you forever and you can continue to do things like dress him. WRONG!
To allow a child with a disability to have his own way, set no goals, and stay dependent on others is the greatest injustice that can be done to that child. A person with a disability may not be able to progress at the same pace as a non-disabled person, but he can still make achievements and accomplishments to celebrate. Denying him the chance to celebrate victories in his life is cruel.
As a parent and teacher of children with handicapping conditions, here is what I think is in the best interest of the child.
- Set boundaries and expectations for the child, just like you would for any child. These may need to be modified or adjusted to the child's abilities, but every person needs to know his or her boundaries.
- Reinforce academics every night. Even if the child is doing simple things like counting. Do it with him at night. This allows you to play an active role in his education. It also reinforces the importance of education in your child's mind.
- Teach him to be as independent as possible. (Unless there are physical disability preventing this.) He should be able to dress and feed himself. He should also be able to bath and take care of his toileting needs independently. He should be able to prepare something to eat for himself--not necessarily cooking. But he should be taught to make a sandwich, pour a bowl of cereal, or other simple tasks that would prevent him from starving.