Hearing that your child has a challenge is never, ever easy.

You may feel upset or scared and have many questions: Will it get better or worse? What can be done about it? If you’re reading this, you’ve started getting informed and connecting to other parents.

FIRST STEPS

CONNECT WITH
OTHER PARENTS

As a parent you almost certainly have your own particular concerns and questions, but you will find that other parents have a lot to offer. It may feel like you’re alone, and talking with other parents is likely to take care of that.

SPEAK TO YOUR
DOCTOR

You might have questions that aren’t easily answered, but discussing your concerns with your doctor is a good idea for many reasons. Even when there are unknowns and answers you may need to wait for, this is a good time to be reminded that expert, caring people will walk this road with you and your family.

FORM A
CARE TEAM

‘Take it one step at a time’ is good advice in many different contexts, but it definitely applies here, and this is an excellent first step. Your care team will depend on your circumstances and may change over time, but this is the group who will help support and care for your child: the doctors and nurses, teachers and therapists, friends and family members who you will rely on.

GIVE YOURSELF
TIME

When you learn that your child has challenges, you will react in your own way and on your own timeline.  You may feel nervous about how others will feel. You might want to wait before sharing the news. Whatever the case, remember that it’s OK to do things on your own timetable.

FIRST QUESTIONS

Even if you don’t know exactly what is going on, it is good to have some idea of what happens next. Are there tests needed? Is there a specialist or expert who can help? Are there therapies or daily activities you can start right away to help encourage your child’s development? Is there anything you can start doing right away to encourage your child’s development?

No Mom or Dad looks for reasons to worry about their child, but if there are risks you need to know about them. A doctor may ask you to pay special attention to some behaviors or changes that will help you better understand the issues. Sometimes keeping a diary can be helpful.

The first question to ask, even if the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘not yet’. When a baby or child is not developing as they should, you may need to be more thoughtful about basics like feeding and sleeping. Sometimes there are small changes you’ll learn about, things that can give a little extra help where it’s needed.

               

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