Getting in the ‘DLA Mood’: The Importance of Looking After Yourself

Jo Griffin by Jo Griffin Additional Needs

Jo Griffin

Jo Griffin

Joanna Griffin is mum to three boys including her eldest who has special needs. She is also a Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Founder of ww...

There is a particularly dark place you have to go to as a parent when you fill in the Disability Living Allowance form on behalf of your child.

While completing it recently I reflected on how unusual it was to focus purely on the negatives about what my son cannot do as normally, both at his special school and inclusive leisure activities, we celebrate all the things he can do, or at least the skills he is starting to develop.

The idea of not only concentrating on the negatives but trying to quantify them – just exactly how many times do I remind him to do things in a day? – feels unnatural, intrusive and potentially upsetting.

If I let it.

And I guess that’s what I started to think…do I let this spoil my day, or do I see it for what it is.

Jumping through the hoops so that we can have some extra resources to do the things we enjoy together as a family.

If it’s easier to get a taxi back from a fun, but very tiring day, and avoid a potential meltdown-inducing journey home, then thank you DLA.

If I see that yet again his shoes have worn down way more on the left side than right because of his asymmetrical gait then I will get the extra pair of shoes even though his feet haven’t grown.

Thank you DLA.

Helping towards our electricity and gas bills because of the extra washing and heating.

Thank you DLA.

If I have to pay extra to top up the Short Breaks activities he really enjoys then I will.

Thank you DLA.

The little things that make life a little more bearable, a little less stressful.

This is what DLA is for.

So leap over the hurdles, go to the dark place while filling out the form. But take it in short bursts, acknowledge that it can be painful but come out the other side and make sure you do something nurturing for yourself and positive with your child.

And if you get your DLA payments, enjoy them and use them, without guilt, to make life a little easier.

You both deserve it.

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