To The Parent of a Newly Diagnosed Kid

Dear Parent,

Good job! This is never said enough to us. Good. Job. You followed through with something there is no road map for. You found the answer. Something wasn’t right, so you found out why on your own, put it in the face of someone who went to school and studied it and now gets paid a lot to know about it, and you made them acknowledge your child and family.

That is no small feat.

Acknowledging that your child is not typical is an emotional throat punch.

So you caught your breath and did what you needed to do to help your kid. Whatever that may be, counseling, therapy – occupational/physical/behavioral. Maybe just sitting back and assessing the situation. You made progress.

Once you begin the process of a diagnosis, things become clear and scary and threatening. You question your parenting choices, you question yourself, you question your partner, you blame everyone. Your child is most likely this way because that is who he/she is. You cannot expect a brunette to turn blond, and just because someone says she’s “brunette” doesn’t make anything different. Her hair is brown either way.

A diagnosis is a tool. Nothing more. It’s the key to the gate of getting help and no longer being solely responsible for your child’s success. It’s using language to get the massive team of people you will need to be on the same page for what is required for your child. That’s it. We do not fret over allowing a teacher to teach our child math, why agonize over a doctor offering insight to managing a diagnosis? They are the professionals. More importantly, they are unbiased professionals who have (hopefully) loads and loads more experience with the matter than just a parent. While a parent is an expert on their child, the professionals are experts in the area of concern. This experience is another tool to find the right solution.

I hope you find a community of parents who can understand your journey. I hope you have a network of friends who, while maybe can’t relate, can listen and appreciate what goes into life with an atypical child. I hope in these friends you can appreciate how your child is accepted and loved and encouraged just to ‘be’.

Mostly, I hope you recognize that though we have more doctor’s appointments and have filled out an encyclopedia’s worth of behavioral assessment forms, researched and read more parenting literature than most parents, we ultimately have extraordinary beings we get to experience life with. Along with an atypical child comes radically advanced gifts. We get to experience things with and through our kids that a typical parent misses out on …. but that will just be our secret, ok? If that secret gets out, then we will see a true explosion of diagnosis!

Ultimately know that it gets better. Life doesn’t stop because you have a kid with a learning disability or behavior disability. Life just alters course. It also helps you appreciate the typical kids in your life.

Good luck with the process. Keep moving forward, even if it’s just a shuffle.  You are doing an amazing job.


A mom in the trenches … holding the vodka






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