If you have just found out your child has a disability

When you find out that your child has a disability, it can be a complete shock. Or it may confirm what you have suspected.

You may feel many emotions, such as grief, guilt, denial, but also relief.

Everyone reacts differently, there is no one right way to react. Your child is the same person and their disability is only one part of their life.

Do

  • Take each day as it comes — you will have highs and lows, share them with someone no matter how small you think they are.

  • Speak to your children's disability network team — they can support you if you have questions or worries.

  • Talk to a counsellor or your GP if you find that you are not coping.

  • If you search for online information about the disability, read everything with caution - the information may be unreliable or may not apply to your child.

  • Seek information from other professionals you are working with when you are ready.

  • Contact support groups related to your child's disability. It can be useful to meet other parents and families who have a child with similar needs.

Don't

  • Do not isolate yourself.

  • Do not blame yourself — this is not your fault.

  • Try not to compare yourself to other people — deal with the news your own way.

  • Do not underestimate the influence you can have as your child's supportive and loving parent.

  • Do not forget that your child's development will look different to that of their peers, and that this is OK.

  • Try not to compare your child against other children. Every child is unique, with or without a disability.

The Informing Families website provides advice and support for the families of children who have been diagnosed with a disability or developmental delay.

Page last reviewed: 7 September 2022
Next review due: 7 September 2025