Parenting an adult child with disabilities while aging with disabilities

Over the years, we have offered a list of Librarian’s Picks of resources for children with special needs. These are some of the best resources to help parents support their children through grade school, college, and into the workforce. However, as children with disabilities age, so do their parents and they often do so with their own age-related disabilities. Here, we offer several resources for parents of adult children with disabilities who may be aging with disabilities:

  • Our-Kids-Adults provides support for parents and caregivers of teens and adults with disabilities. They provide a mailing list for parents and caregivers of teens and adults and one for young children. They also offer links to information on assistive technology and equipment advocacy, arts, community integration, life planning (financial and legal), leisure and recreation, housing, funding and benefits, and much more.
  • Your local area agency on aging may provide services and information for parents aging with disabilities while caring for adult children with disabilities. Please visit The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging for a list of agencies to find the office in your state.
  • You can also find different programs through They provide a list of programs that include aging and disability resource centers, case management, and caregiver programs.
  • The Arc provides a network of over 700 state and local chapters and which provides supports and services that range from early intervention to respite care and transportation. You can find a local or state chapter by visiting the blue map on their site.

We ran a search of the NIDRR Program Database and found that NIDRR is currently funding several projects on parenting an adult child with disabilities while aging with a disability. One is called Families with Disabilities Through the Life Cycle: Disability Culture Perspectives (H133A110009) at Through the Looking Glass. We also searched through REHABDATA and found several articles within the database. Here are just a few of them:

  • Midlife and aging parents of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities: Impacts of lifelong parenting. NARIC Accession Number: J62515.
  • Subjective burden and personal gains among older parents of adults with serious mental illness. NARIC Accession Number: J59131.
  • Congregational participation and supports for children and adults with disabilities: Parent perception. NARIC Accession Number: J65694.

To run your own searches for projects and articles, please visit the NIDRR Program Database and REHABDATA respectively.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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