On the day you learn that your child has special needs it won’t matter to you just then how long you have suspected, how long there had been a question mark or even how you are actually told. Once those words are revealed to you, your world will change forever. It can feel like the world is continuing on around you, but you are standing still watching everything. You wait for the words to evaporate so you can focus on the reality, but they won’t and you can’t.
A million different thoughts whirl around your mind, your heart quickens, your mouth dries.
The “W”s seep into your thoughts;
Why me/Why us/Why our child?
What will the diagnosis mean for our child?
What will the future bring?
Will I be able to cope/help my child?
Will my child have friends?
Will my child outlive me?
Who will care for my child when I am not around?
What if they are wrong about the diagnosis?
Where do we go from here?
The “W”s never leave you, now or ever.
A special needs diagnosis is not definitive in itself, it is a life long journey; one which will have many ups and downs. From time to time the fear and anxiety will take hold of you and the “W”s consume your every thought, as they do mine almost 5 years after Conor’s first diagnosis.
The day of your child’s Special Needs diagnosis can feel like your worst fears coming true. You may feel like you can’t cope & will not be able to cope in the future.. You will.
There are many things you need to remember once you have received those fateful words. When times get tough and you feel you just can’t keep going remember the following and it may just help you through;
Your child is still YOUR child, the diagnosis will not change that ever.
Your child is MORE THAN their diagnosis.
Your child has their own personality, own opinions, own rights, own voice whether verbal or not, own sense of humor, sense of style, sense of being, They still exist as they did from their day of birth, a diagnosis of Special Needs will not change who they are fundamentally.
Your child will make you appreciate life more than you could have ever imagined. I know that since Conor was born i view the world completely. I appreciate everything on a completely different level then ever before. I really see the world now.
Your child will teach you real love, real compassion and real empathy. I have learned so much from Conor and my heart swells with all he has taught me. He has not one single unkind thought in his little head, he shows kindness & love in his own way. He speaks volumes to me without ever being able to utter one single word.
There will be more good days then there will be bad.
Your child will love you no matter what so stop putting pressure on yourself to be a “super” mom or dad. Do what you can do right now and worry about the rest later.
Your life will get better, give yourself time to breath, heal and rest. You are only human and can only do so much right now.
You are now part of a huge Special Needs Community and you will never be alone. There will always be someone who has walked this road before you and they will have advice, comfort and friendship to offer you on the road ahead.
I have found all of these words to be true at one time or another. The Special Needs journey can be overwhelming but you do not have to do it alone. I think the above picture of Hailey looking after her little brother Conor when he was feeling anxious says it all.
You are not alone now or on the road ahead, you will always have a friend to guide you on your way, you just have to look.