Advocating for Your Adult Child with Disabilities in the Healthcare System
While advocating for your adult child with disabilities in the healthcare system is incredibly important, it can be challenging to navigate. In this article, we’ll share information about advocating for adolescent and adult children with an intellectual or developmental disability.’
As a mother of a teenage daughter with autism, I understand the kind of challenges others like her face in the healthcare system. Below, we’ll discuss why advocacy is important, what an advocate can help with, and how you can go about helping your child in the healthcare system.
Why do adults with disabilities need a healthcare advocate?
Disabled people need to have an advocate to help them navigate the healthcare system because there are so many barriers, and high-quality medical care is especially important for adults with disabilities.
Studies, including this one of autistic adults and healthcare, show that people with disabilities are not only more susceptible to health issues than those without disabilities, but disabled individuals are also often less likely to report medical concerns.
In fact, if we’re looking at autism alone, many people on the autism spectrum disorder may have another diagnosis, such as high blood pressure, a sleep disorder, or depression. This applies to people with other developmental or intellectual disabilities too. This isn’t to say they can’t live a long, happy, and healthy life if someone advocates for them to get suitable healthcare.
Many medical care providers are also unprepared to treat people with disabilities. They don’t always value the concerns these patients may have, and there’s also a lack of knowledge of the fact that this population is at risk for additional health-related conditions. However, an advocate can help with communication and ensure the individual is working with suitable providers.
Adults with disabilities may also need an advocate to help with medical benefits and bills, which we’ll go more into below.