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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 shock. Or it may confirm what you have suspected.

How you may feel

Everyone reacts differently, there is no one right way to react. You may feel many emotions, such as grief, guilt, denial, but also relief.

Do not isolate yourself or blame yourself.

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

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

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

Finding information

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

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

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.

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

Comparisons can be unhelpful

Your child is the same person and their disability is only one part of their life.

Try not to compare your child against other children. Every child is unique, with or without a disability. 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 yourself to other people. Deal with the news your own way.

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