Receiving a diagnosis
After your child has been diagnosed, it's normal to feel sadness, anger, confusion and worry. Everyone is different and it can take some time to process. Some of you may have accepted this diagnosis and are ready to take things forward. This is where we can help and support you on your journey.
We understand that talking to many different services about your child's needs can be very confusing. To help we have put together a list of acronyms on our Glossary of Terms.
Contact is a charity for families with disabled children. They support families with the best possible guidance and information. They have produced a very useful booklet called The Helpful Guide for Families with Disabled Children. If you would prefer a hard copy of this guide, you can order one from the Contact website.
Diagnosis from birth
When a child’s disability or additional need is identified at birth (or even in the womb) the doctor or midwife will refer you to a specialist at the hospital who can help:
- you understand the implications
- inform you as to how the disability or additional need will affect the development of your child
- you best attend to their needs during early life.
This is typical of conditions like Down’s Syndrome.
Diagnosis at a later date
Other types of disability, special educational needs or medical conditions are not immediately obvious and are identified later in a child’s or young person’s life - for example a hearing or vision impairment or learning difficulty.
The first points of contact to understand your child's diagnosis of special educational needs or disability are your:
- education provider
- child’s GP
- health visitor.
You will then receive ongoing support from the specialist services who will help you understand:
- how a disability or additional need will affect your child’s daily life
- what kinds of educational provision your child may need
- what local services are available to your child and you as a parent.
In some cases your child may be diagnosed with a rare condition and support may come from a national, rather than a local service.