My Child Was Diagnosed With a Disability. Now What?

Your child was recently diagnosed with a disability. You may feel confused. Or relieved. Or scared. Or overwhelmed. All of the above? That sounds about right. This is a big moment. But our children with disabilities are… our children. Let’s talk about how to get through the experience of getting a new diagnosis so you can keep being the best parent you can be to your child.

Give yourself room to breathe.

You’ve just gotten some important news. Maybe it’s a shock, or maybe you’ve known for a long time that this diagnosis was coming. Maybe you even have the same diagnosis. It can still feel like a big deal. Each time one of my children has gotten a new diagnosis, it has thrown me for a loop. You need a minute.

Try not to jump right into action. It will probably feel like you need to do everything right now to support your child. But in most cases, the diagnosis is not really an emergency. You have time to take a breath, and you probably really need one.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and a new diagnosis can feel like an elephant. So your first bite — the first thing you need to do — is to give yourself some time to process and to ask all of your questions.