Finding out that your child has a disability can be one of the most heart wrenching experiences a parent can face in their lifetime. However, there are three main things that can help you process and start accepting your child’s diagnosis
3 Things You Can Do When You Find Out Your Child Has A Disability
Finding a Support Group
One of the most important things you can do when you first find out that your child has been diagnosed with a disability is to connect with other parents like you. Finding a support group is crucial in learning more about your child’s disability. Finding other parents who are on a similar path as yours is very beneficial to both you and your child.
When you can connect with other parents it helps provide comfort and sense of belonging. It is very helpful to learn that you are not alone. There are hundreds of parents who have paved the path before you. Even if your child is the only one with a diagnosis, finding out what to do next can be priceless information.
It is also important to note that there are support groups for every member of the family. Oftentimes only mothers are focused on when finding a group. However, there are support groups specific for each member that can help the entire family through the grieving process, and the ups and downs that come with having a child or sibling with a disability.
Researching Your Child’s Disability
Most of the time the ‘unknowns’ can be the scariest part of having a child with a disability. You get nervous and fear the ‘unknown’. Arming yourself with knowledge can be extremely important as you navigate different specialists and possible pieces of equipment.
When you gain more knowledge about your child’s disability and learn from others’ experiences, you can be a powerful advocate for your child. Most of society has the idea that doctors know all, and that they have all the answers. However, you as a parent have a voice. No one knows your child better than yourself. You need to speak up and educate your various medical providers about what works for your child.
Many times you will encounter a medical provider who has never seen or even heard of a specific disability. When you have researched and connected with other parents, you can help pave the way for the families who will follow after you.
Grieving Your Child’s Diagnosis
It is important to remember and realize that you are human, you need to allow yourself time to grieve. Not only grieve, but grieve in your own way. Each of us are unique in how we take in and process information. Find out what helps you and your family best adapt to your new world of disabilities.
There are several things to remember that can help you and your family: you are not alone, you need to take care of yourself, enjoy your child, your child is more than their disability, laugh off the little things, do not compare your child to others, make time for your marriage, and most importantly trust your instincts.
When you first receive a diagnosis you can feel like you’re drowning, surrounded by complete darkness gasping for any help or relief. Realize that It is okay to do nothing, to not know what to do, to allow yourself time to absorb new information. On the flip side, it is also normal to not grieve, to not be completely hopeless or lost. Remember, everyone is different and everyone reacts differently.