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After Diagnosis

Published on May 2016 | Categories: Types, School Work | Downloads: 8 | Comments: 0
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After Diagnosis
So getting a diagnosis is the first step to helping your child with special
needs -- what's the next one? Often, your direction will be determined
by your child's particular disability, but here are some follow-ups that are
common to most families.
Consider getting a second opinion. f you ha!e any doubts about
the diagnosis or about the doctor who ga!e it to you, see" out a second
opinion. Some disabilities are diagnosed on the basis of tests that are
definiti!e, but others rely on a large degree of interpretation and
professional #udgment. Different doctors can ma"e those interpretations
differently. $he gut instinct of a parent who li!es with a child day in and
day out is often at least as accurate as the opinion of a doctor who sees
the child for a short period of time in an examining room. t's important
to accept reality and not endlessly defer the help your child needs, but it's
also important to get a diagnosis that feels right to you, the expert on
your child.
Let yourself mourn. Once you'!eaccepted a diagnosis, it's natural to
go through a period of mourning for the %perfect% child you'!e dreamt of
and the life that your child and your family will not ha!e. $his doesn't
mean you'!e gi!en up or don't thin" your child will ha!e a !aluable and
fulfilling life. t #ust means you ha!e to close one chapter before you
can start the next one. &ecogni'e, too, that family members, e!en
extended family members, may be going through a similar period of
grie!ing, and respect that the reactions you encounter during this time
may not be true to the help and support you will recei!e from them in the
future.
Read everything you can find. f there are boo"s on your child's
disability, find them and read them. (ecome an expert not only on your
child but on your child's condition. As" the doctor to recommend some
good boo"s on the sub#ect. )omb the Special *eeds shel!es of boo"stores
and libraries. Search the !irtual shel!es of online boo"sellers. )onsult
the +arried ,arent's (oo" )lub on this site for ideas and re!iews. -ou
may not find any single boo" that truly explains or encapsulates your
child, but o!er a number of different sources you may be able to gather
useful tips and information that will help you assemble your own picture.
n addition to ma"ing you better informed, reading can help you feel li"e
you're doing something e!en if you're not emotionally ready to do much
else.
Share with family and friends. -ou may fear the #udgments and
reactions of others when you tell them the news of your child's special
needs, and indeed you may not get the response you hope for from
e!eryone you lo!e. (ut support from a close circle of family and friends is
one of the most important resources parents of children with special
needs can ha!e, and people can't support you if you don't gi!e them a
chance. $here may be surprises, as you find friends and relati!es you
thought you could count on slipping away and others you ne!er expected
much from stepping up and pitching in. *ot e!eryone is e.uipped to be a
special friend to an exceptional child. (ut the ones who are, are worth
their weight in gold.
Find a support group. /riends and family can help in many essential
ways, but they may ne!er be able to understand what parenting your
child is really li"e. $hat's where support groups come in. -ou may be able
to find a li!e support group in your area through organi'ations dedicated
to your child's particular disability0 through parent-to-parent programs0
or through your early inter!ention ser!ice pro!ider. Or you may prefer to
start with an e-mail group that you can access at your con!enience and
with a greater degree of anonymity. 1essage boards li"e the one on
this About.com site can also be a great place to lin" up with parents who
can sympathi'e directly with your experience and pro!ide support and
ad!ice.
Start lining up services. f your child will be needing early
inter!ention orspecial education ser!ices, don't wait to ma"e the first
phone calls to set that in motion. t can ta"e months to get the first
appointments and e!aluations scheduled and completed, and you won't
want to add more time to that by dragging your feet. )ontact your state's
early inter!ention office or your school district as soon as those ser!ices
are recommended, and start gathering the reports and information
you're going to need once the process begins. -ou're on the special-needs
roller coaster now for sure. /asten your seatbelt and hang on tigh

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