Laura Moore’s son William was born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, epilepsy and visual impairment. His condition means he can’t sit or stand without support, is unable to walk, can’t talk and has very little control over his body. He requires constant care, as he can’t eat, drink, use the toilet or take his medication without help.
He’s now 10, and Moore has spent the years since his birth navigating the challenges of raising a son with special needs while trying to earn a living. After initially launching a successful baking business, Moore realized that is was the marketing side she enjoyed more than the cake-making, so she trained in social media marketing.
She’s managed to create a successful business, helping freelancers and small business owners with their Facebook ads and other online marketing needs. But her work and home-life operate quite differently to that of freelance parents raising children without special needs.
“In terms of work, it’s difficult to manage his 24/7 care and run a business on a platform that is open 24/7—social media never sleeps,” she says. “Of course, all parents struggle to juggle work and raising a child but with a child like William it’s a little like having a baby while trying to work—only
he sleeps less than a baby.”
This is one of the reasons the employment rate for carers is 67%, although over half of those who are not working say that they want to do so. “Most parents I know with disabled children have been unable to return to work because of the lack of child care” says Moore.