Whether it is a physical disability like cerebral palsy etc... or devlopmental disbility like Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, ADHD, learning disability or maybe all of the above??
When you face such issues as a parent you often feel like you have done something wrong (I did) and once you find out your child has a disability life often seems like it comes to a screeching halt.
The emotional and physical stress of having a child with a disability can be devastating whether its a minor disability or major.
First of all, accept that you will go through many emotions and don't try to fight them. Things like depression, denial, anger, and yes eventually comes acceptance. These emotions are similar (if not the same) as you would deal with death and are not uncommon, be prepared let yourself go through the process.
If you are able communicate with family members and friends do so as much as possible. If you don't have that support or feel as tho you can't talk to family or friends, find yourself a support group and/or a professional a therapist (one or all of the above). Do not keep emotions and frustrations to yourself, its not good for you OR your special needs child.
If you have other children, do everything you can to help them understand what’s going on. Even though your special needs child needs you, your other children don’t stop needing you as well. Many special needs programs within your community will have sibling groups where kids talk about their sibling disabilities and how it effects them.
After dealing with your emotions its times to embrace our child’s disability?
I can't stress enough that knowledge IS power, learn all you can about your childs disability. Do research on the internet and find other families with children with the same or similar situations.
Having a support network, any support network is so important.
My son isn't autistic but his characteristic do mimic PDD, they are calling it Neurodevelopmental Disorder (for now...) I have joined the facebook groups such as Shut up About your Perfect KID, as parents we all go through the same emotions and with this group its nice to have some humor go along with it!
If your child is under the age of three (3) contact your local early intervention. If your not sure how to ask your pediatrician. Early Intervention is a great way to start the process of getting services you may need.
When my son had a trach, I found an online support group called tracheostomy.com and eventually got together with local moms to help start a local support group trachcare.org and, as I have mention in previous posts I have met some wonderful mom's who have become great friends today through ALL of these groups.
Other groups can include your local SEPAC (Special education parent advisory council), you can also contact programs like the federation for children with special needs they have support programs that will match you up with families who have similar backgrounds.
What's most important to realize after learning of the disability and coping with all of the above?
EMBRACE your child’s disability. Be proud. Teach others what you have learned throughout your journey, take one day at a time and you SHALL Thrive.