The process of identifying that something is not quite right with your child through to actually receiving the diagnosis can be long and difficult.
Doubting yourself, blaming yourself or your spouse, grieving for your child, and telling your story over and over again to doctors - this is just a small sample of the challenges you may face during this time.
Whether you are going through the process of identifying your child's struggles, or have just received a diagnosis, the following information is for you.
Have a cry
Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to before moving into action.
During this initial step, you may wish to see a behavioural counsellor to help you through the process and move into action with support. Remember that we all need help sometimes!
Your family is still intact and your child is still the gorgeous child you dreamed about and has every potential to be a happy and fulfilled adult. The struggle or diagnosis is not your child, but rather a barrier you will have to teach to overcome.
Finding someone that is in your corner is paramount.
Find that family member or friend that you can talk to and that will give you an outsider's perspective of the situation. You want someone that loves you enough to be there for you, but that also loves you enough to keep you grounded in reality and moving forward.
In the next section, we discuss how to set up a support system if you do not already have one.
The tendency when faced with such an uphill battle is either to only climb, forgetting about everything else that is on the mountain, or to give up and not even bother trying to reach the top.
Try and keep balance. Remember that time for yourself is a good thing and will rejuvenate you to keep climbing. Schedule regular dates with your spouse, schedule regular dates with yourself and friends and time to just have some fun with your children. A behavioural counsellor can help you with this as keeping this kind of a plan in place can be tough!
As much as you want to give your child the world, you need to be realistic. What can you do and what can't you do. Is there funding or insurance? Will a private company accept a payment plan?
Keep it evidence based.
Seeking the support and guidance of a professional may be important when choosing the intervention that is best for your family.
Life will always throw unexpected challenges our way. Remember that to reach the clearing on the mountain that will allow the sun to shine down on you means you have to work hard to get there. There will be steep parts, flat parts, detours and problems along the way – without the lows there would be no highs.