Augmentative and Alternative Communication

A disability diagnosis for your child is not a tragic event. It may feel like that, absolutely.And yes, it may change the expectations that you will have for your child as they grow and develop into an adult.The important thing is that it is still your child that the doctor or specialist is talking about. Remember that having a diagnosis does not change the fact that he or she is still the same little person who had your heart from the moment you laid eyes on them.

You have a job now that you have a diagnosis. Your job is to educate yourself on what it is, and how best you can assist your child.A diagnosis can actually be a helpful thing.It can alleviate parents of the burden of feeling responsible for issues actually out of their control when their child is lagging behind in school or in other developmental areas. It can point to an actual problem that needs to be addressed. It may offer new strategies or a different plan of attack that will be more likely to succeed. Finally, once you understand what has been going on with your child, you can be proactive and move forward.There are so many things that having a diagnosis can open up for you. Therapies, accommodations, and services may now accessible that may not have been optionsbefore, simply because there was not a known cause.

I highly recommend searching for grants for any adaptive equipment necessary to help your child along. If your child will need a wheelchair or a walker, there might be funds available for you to make modifications to your home to make them safer for your child;there may be medical advances that can help; there may training available for teachers and other staff at your child’s school so that they will be better able to accommodate them in a classroom setting.Again, there are so many options out there.Use the internet, talk to your physicians or specialists, read articles.Find something that you can put your energy into instead of wallowing in something that you likely cannot change or make go away.The only thing that you can do is find out what treatments and accommodations can help your child move forward.

Remember you cannot put your child on the same developmental timeline as other children anymore. You have to accept the progress that they make as real honest progress whether it be simply saying,“Mommy,” learning the alphabet, or being able to spell their name using technology.Whatever moving forward looks like for your child is something that you need to cherish. Even if, once you hear the diagnosis, you think there won’t be progress—and sometimes there will be plateaus, unfortunately—but there will be progress. Keep looking for resources, keep fighting for your child, and you will help them reach their full potential.