Important Matters You Should Have Ready Before Anything Happens To You
Protecting special needs kids is difficult for quite a lot of parents and families in Malaysia. For any child to survive and thrive, they will need policies and services that support them and their families.
According to a UNICEF study, it reflects that Malaysian children with disabilities are often hidden out of sight. There are times when they are not portrayed in a positive light and are excluded from society. In short, they face a lot of stigma and discrimination, which further pushes them into marginalization.
Quick Statistic of Special Needs Kids in Malaysia
Special needs kids exist everywhere, and it’s not surprising that they exist in Malaysia too. A research done by UNICEF shows that:
- 58% of Malaysians surveyed feel under-informed about disability.
- 1 in 3 Malaysians surveyed believed that children with disabilities should be kept hidden and out of sight.
- 43% of Malaysians feel that children with disabilities will be disruptive in in mainstream class.
In a news article published by the Straits Times for the Malaysian Education Ministry dated 26th September 2019 reported that there were 87,574 special needs students as of June 2019. A quick run-down of the news reported that of the total, 2492 of them are registered under Special Education Schools and 68,874 are in the Special Education Integrated Programme (SEIP), among others.
Having more than 87,000 registered special needs kids is a substantial figure. If you are a parent of a special needs kid, what will you do for them?
As a Parent, You Can…
As taking care of a special needs kid is difficult enough, here are 5 ways you can do to protect them prudently.
1. Having enough financial resources for your child
Special needs people tend to have it harder to find jobs due to their disability. So it makes sense that they will be unable or less likely to earn any or much money in their lifetime. Due to this issue, many parents tend to sacrifice a huge part of their careers and life savings to provide for their kids with special needs.
That’s just 1 part of the issue. Parents will need to ensure there are sufficient assets available for their special needs kids when they have passed away. Most times, these parents tend to purchase life insurance to fund their children’s special needs. Life insurance is one of the ways for parents to provide funds for their kids to maintain the quality of their life later on.
2. Naming a guardian
If your special needs kid is not of legal age yet, you can (and should) name a legal guardian to care for your child. This is to ensure that they have a guardian before their parents pass away. Otherwise, things may get difficult later on when you’ve passed away.
When they reach adulthood or legal age, they will need a guardian advocate. Guardian advocates will help special needs person make legal and medical decisions in their adulthood. The parents can still be alive or have passed away. However, before the parents passed away, they will need to appoint a few more succession of legal guardians just in case the current one passes away.
3. Include special needs trust for your special needs kids in your estate planning
This is in some ways similar to appointing a guardian. However, this one is basically for when you have passed away and leaving behind your estate, you may want to look into having public assistance benefits in place. Having a special needs trust may help in this case.
Special needs trusts are basically trusts you can include in your estates to ensure that your disabled child’s public assistance benefits are not jeopardized. Such funds can be used to supplement the beneficiary’s government benefits. You can expect benefits such as paying for services, equipment, and similar commodities that government benefits will not cover. The trust typically lasts a lifetime for obvious reasons.
4. Have a letter of intent or written care plan prepared
A letter of intent is a non-binding document that includes important information of any person’s disabilities to future caregivers and organizations. Not only does it include your child’s information, it also includes their benefits, resources, medical history, treatment plans, and so on. It even includes information such as their eating plans and habits, sleeping habits, and other daily routines.
It may seem like small and insignificant information to you. However, you should not take them for granted as future caregivers will never know how it’s like to be in your shoes.
5. Financial training, or just training in general
Depending on your special needs child’s capabilities, see if they can be exposed to financial lessons and handling simple transactions. Teach them how to be independent as much as they can. Didn’t matter if it’s living skills, speaking skills, and whatnot. Just that many special needs kids tend to be dependent and over-reliant on their caregivers due to their impairments.
However, if they have the capability to understand and do things with the more capable parts of themselves, try to train them to do something for themselves.
The bottom line is that you will never be around forever to protect your special needs kids. While you are still around, it’s best that you prepare as much cushion for your child as you can. Do it before you pass away or forget. Your special needs kid may thank you later on in life.