Note from Cali: Please welcome Linda Roundtree, of Roundtree Consulting, as our first guest blogger! With her years of experience and passion for this field, I am honored to have her share her insights. Thanks, Linda!
Every year Working Mother magazine publishes a list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” This year they added a question to their application about workplace programs and benefits to support employees caring for children with special needs. A great move considering these national trends:
• 1 in 5 households with children includes a child with special needs
• 13 percent of children have a disability
• Nearly 20 percent of children experience symptoms of a mental health disorder over the course of a year; 5 percent are considered to have serious emotional disorders
• 1 in 12 employees has a child with special needs
By broadening their Best Companies application, Working Mother has further challenged employers to assess needs, seek out best practices, and provide additional resources to employed parents of children with special needs.
But what are the real issues faced by these parents? Don’t all parents have the same challenges? Perhaps what most distinguishes parents of kids with special needs the most from parents of typically developing kids is the intensity and complexity of work and life arrangements they make on a daily basis – arrangements that often get more complex as the years go by. I know about this first hand.