In this crazy ride called parenting, we often come face to face with differences in our children that we may not have seen in other children. It can be in how they write, play, talk, move and really so many other things. Often they are just doing things their own way. We stay awake at night wondering if this or that will affect them as they develop, or will it affect them making friends, or growing old, or in a career. The thoughts that go through our heads are countless and endless. We are relieved when our worries start to fade and distressed when they don’t.
A diagnosis is defined as “the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.” Sometimes these symptoms slip by unnoticed leaving a diagnosis to shock and catch us of guard, reeling over the words from a professional that may affect our lives and our child’s life greatly now and in the future.
We may cry, scream, plead, deny, ignore and be left devastated. On the other hand, some parents wonder and ask questions for a long time before anyone else seems to notice or understand that your child needs help in some way. They feel in their gut that something just isn’t right. They ask themselves over and over if these signs apply to their child. In this case, when a diagnosis is finally reached you may rejoice in having a pathway to follow.
There is just so much to say about this topic as it affects each and every person and family differently. There are a few things to remember no matter the diagnosis, no matter the child, parent or situation.
- Your child is your child no matter the diagnosis. A diagnosis does not change the love you have for them, it does not change how special they are, it does not change the bond between mother (parents) and child. It does not change that you are your child’s everything.
- Breathe, breathe, breathe. It is terrifying to first hear the words that are going to affect your child’s life possibly for the rest of their lives, but it will be okay. The first step is to breathe through it. My husbands’ favourite sentence to me is, “One day at a time.” When you’re mind is going a mile a minute with thoughts ranging from now to when the child is 30 you really do need to stop and remember, one day at a time! Little steps can make a big difference.
- Next steps for your child – services, help, support is looking into services to help support your child. It is the most important factor to consider after a diagnosis. Where do you turn? Who do you contact? It is definitely overwhelming to consider the possibilities. Speak with the professional that has diagnosed your child for future steps. They should be able to point you in the direction of specialists. There is also the CLSC, Pavillon Du Parc, La Ressource, CISSSO and I’m certain there are services I’m not aware of. Ask for help and ask questions. The days of being shy and quiet about a diagnosis are gone. Our society has become and continues to become more and more accepting of special needs. There is no reason to keep quiet about it or to be shy about it. This leads to the next most important thing to do after a diagnosis — you.
- Support for youself. Of course the focus in your brain and actions are on your child. Rightfully so. However, you are the steam keeping them running and therefore you cannot ignore your needs. You have to take care of you. Join a support group to help you stay sane. There are lots of online ones if you can’t find one near you. There are other parents out there going through exactly what you are going through, so ask them questions about their experiences, talk to them about what they are going through. Remember to live your life, continue to do something that you enjoy and that makes you feel great. Choose things that are going to give you a boost, whether it be exercising, cooking, baking, crafting or building, whatever it is you need it in your life to recharge. Do it. Make a team, surround yourself with people who are there for you and your child and keep them close by. You’ve got this. One day at a time, one step at a time, you’ve got this.
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