Sometimes it can seem like you're the only one dealing with your child's disability. Or perhaps you feel like the only one at school who has a challenging student. It can also very easily turn negative when you get your initial diagnosis for your child.
The first time you hear that your perfect little son or daughter, may not be so perfect after all. And when I say perfect ... I use the term perfect loosely. Yes, you may have suspected that your child could have some learning challenges. Yes, your child was actually not perfect. But now. Now there is proof. There is paperwork that says your child actually has a disability.
For some parents it is a relief. You knew something was just not right.
For some parents it is a surprise or a blow. What do you mean my child has a disability?
For others, it is still a denial. There is nothing wrong with my child. I had trouble in school too.
And for some...it is all three. There is process to accept and react and plan for what has just been presented to you.
Where ever you fall, you need to pick yourself back up.
Because here is the truth...
That son or daughter...is still the same kiddo they were 5 minutes ago before you read or heard the report. That son or daughter knows no difference and loves you just the same. And you love them.
No report, NO REPORT....can foretell the future for your son or daughter. The report tells us the strengths and weaknesses. It should provide you with accommodations and learning strategies. BUT it does NOT say your child will not be able to lead a happy and successful life.
It is what you do now that matters the most. How are you going to empower your child?
Yes, your son or daughter needs to know about their diagnosis and the older they are the more information they need. They need to learn to fight for their rights. They need to learn how to ask for help. They need to know their strengths...EVERYONE HAS THEM. They need to learn to use these strengths to their advantage. They need to learn the strategies that will help them succeed in this world. You need to be their biggest advocate, but teach them to be their own as well.
I highly recommend as a parent you become educated in your child's disability. READ. Then read some more. Learn what you can. Join a support group or an online chat group where you can ask questions. Ask questions. LOTS of questions. Find out what type of services are available for your child at their school. What kind of accommodations are they going to provide? If you are in a private school, will they write a plan for your child, like an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) or a 504 plan? Surprise, they don't have to provide those but your public school does.
Some of you will have a much longer road than others, depending on the diagnosis. But you don't need to travel the road alone. There are advocates, teachers, administrators, and psychologists all there to help you navigate.
But most of all, give yourself some time to process. You will come up with lots of other questions. Don't be afraid to ask. And if the person you asked doesn't know, ask them who does.
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner