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TIPS ON HOW TO COPE WITH YOUR CHILD'S DISABILITY AND FEELINGS

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After a diagnosis of disability, most parents feel confused and overwhelmed, shocked, disbelieving or numb, and in denial. This is only normal, you are allowed to let your emotions out. As you get used to the situation, you might feel sad, especially when thinking about your disappointed hopes and dreams for your child and yourselves. There can be feelings of blame which are directed towards yourselves and other people as well as fear about the future. You might also feel confused and overloaded, with too much information or not enough information; sometimes conflicting advice and pressure to make decisions.

Most parents fear how their child’s condition will affect their lives, work and more. Please take it one step at a time. Yes it is not an easy task but you want to also make your child feel loved and not neglected. Once you know what the exact problem is it helps you move on and seek help. Dealing with how you feel as parents is also part of coming to terms with the diagnosis and moving on with your lives as a family.

Here are some tips on how to cope with your feelings:

  • Accept your feelings, please do not push your feelings away, and let the feelings flow because acknowledging your emotions is a healthy thing to do.
  • Give yourself time. Negative feelings won’t stay forever, but they can come back from time to time.
  • Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself and keep healthy.
  • Collect good information about your child’s diagnosis, it is very healthy to seek help and ask questions. The more information you have, the less you’ll need to wonder or worry.
  • When you’re ready, talk to people close to you, particularly your husband, about how you’re feeling. Try to accept that other people might have completely different feelings from yours.
  • Get to know other parents who are in a similar situation.
  • Try to avoid comparing your child with other children. Every child is an individual. Comparing your child only causes more danger than solving anything.
  • Seek professional support and information.
  • Maintain the existing family routine as much as you can especially when you have other kids.
  • Celebrate successes and milestones –it is very healthy to focus on positives and progress. Your child might be developing differently from other children but will be reaching her own goals and milestones along the way. There will be lots of reasons to feel positive.
  • Take time to just enjoy your child without focusing on the disability. With time you’ll get better at doing this. Enjoy every moment with your child.

Please share with us any additional tips that have helped you along the way.

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