How Divorced Parents Can Support Children with Learning Disabilities


Even in the happiest of marriages, raising children can be challenging. When parents have a child with a disability, it becomes even more crucial for them to work together, united and consistent, to provide the best possible support for their child’s well-being and future. In this article, we will explore some essential tips for co-parents who have a disabled child.

Understanding the Importance of Unity

When co-parenting a child with a disability, unity and consistency are vital for the child’s well-being and development. By presenting a united front, parents can ensure that their child receives the support and care they need, both academically and emotionally.

Essential Documents and Communication

To effectively support their disabled child, co-parents must have access to all relevant documents and maintain open communication channels with each other and the child’s educational and healthcare professionals.

Copies of Testing and Legal Documents

Both parents should possess copies of any testing or legal documents, such as 504 plans or Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), to stay informed about the child’s needs and requirements.

Inclusion in Communication and Meetings

Both parents should be included in all communication from schools and professionals related to the child’s education and well-being. Inviting both parents to attend meetings is essential to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Participation in School Meetings

Both parents should make an effort to attend school meetings that involve decisions about their child’s education. If physical attendance is not possible, participation through phone calls can also be considered.

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Resolving Disagreements

In case of disagreements regarding suggested support or interventions, the dissenting parent should clearly express their concerns in writing to the other partner and any involved mediator or legal advisor. Scheduling a meeting to find a compromise is crucial for the child’s benefit.

Termination of Academic Support

Academic support should not be unilaterally terminated by one parent without the consent of the other, except when legally determined to have the right to do so.

Establishing Consistent Routines

Consistency is key to a disabled child’s well-being. Establishing routines that align as closely as possible in both households can provide stability and support the child’s development.

Promoting Optimal Homework Environments

Creating consistent homework environments in both homes helps the child focus and perform better academically.

Sharing Observations and Concerns

After each stay with the other parent, sending updates via email about the child’s challenges or concerns can facilitate cooperation and informed decision-making.

Keeping Two Sets of Textbooks

To minimize the burden of carrying textbooks back and forth between homes, keeping two sets of textbooks, one in each house, can be beneficial.

Informing Educational and Mental Health Support Staff

Any changes in routines or household situations that may impact the child should be communicated to the child’s educational and mental health support staff, with both parents copied on the email.

Seeking Explanations and Clarifications

Both parents should seek explanations and clarifications when faced with information they don’t understand. Staying fully informed allows parents to advocate effectively for their child when needed.

Things to Avoid as Co-Parents

While striving for effective co-parenting, there are certain behaviors that co-parents of a disabled child should avoid to maintain a healthy and supportive environment.

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Keeping Secrets from Your Partner

Professionals should not be asked to keep secrets from the other parent regarding the child’s support and well-being.

Speaking Negatively about the Other Parent

Speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child can create a hostile environment and negatively impact the child’s emotional well-being.

Missing Important Meetings

It’s crucial for both parents to attend meetings related to the child’s academic future and welfare, ensuring active involvement in decision-making.

Unbalanced Advocacy

Relying solely on one parent to be the primary advocate for the child can lead to an imbalanced approach to support.

Sole Responsibility on One Parent

One parent should not bear the sole responsibility for managing the child’s educational life, as both parents’ involvement is crucial.


Raising a disabled child requires unwavering commitment, understanding, and cooperation from both parents. By following these essential tips for co-parenting, parents can create a supportive and nurturing environment that allows their child to thrive despite the challenges they may face.


  1. What is the importance of unity in co-parenting a disabled child? Unity ensures that both parents are on the same page, providing consistent and effective support to the child.
  2. How can co-parents resolve disagreements related to their child’s support? Co-parents should clearly express their concerns in writing and schedule a meeting to find a compromise.
  3. Why is consistency important for a disabled child’s well-being? Consistency provides stability and a sense of security, which are crucial for a disabled child’s development.
  4. Should co-parents share information about their child’s challenges and concerns? Yes, sharing information via email after each stay can help both parents stay informed and make informed decisions.
  5. What are the potential consequences of speaking negatively about the other parent? Speaking negatively about the other parent can create a hostile environment and negatively impact the child’s emotional well-being.
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