Telling other people about your child's learning disability

After receiving a diagnosis you, as a parent, will have to face explaining your child's learning disability to other people. This can be a daunting task, and every family will have their own way of dealing with it.

Some parents may not appear to have an issue telling other people about their child, and may be very forthcoming about their family's life. Some may find the whole disclosure issue quite difficult and never seem to be at ease with talking about their child. Others may fall in between the two, and be happy to talk about their child most of the time but occasionally want to keep the disability to themselves.

There is no right or wrong way to tell others about your child – it is a personal choice, and no one should push you into talking about it before you are ready.

Normally I'm quite upfront about my son, but sometimes I just want people to know him without the disability, until they meet him in person.

These pages raise some of the concerns that you may have about telling other people about your child's disability, and offers advice from other parents about their ways of coping. Although it has been written with parents in mind, any member of the family may have similar issues and may benefit from reading this guide.

This information is also available to download as a PDF.


I don't know what to say

Knowing what to say to someone else can be a difficult issue, especially if you yourself have only recently been told about your child's disability.

I don't know when to tell someone

Do you tell someone that your child has a learning disability in advance, or do you wait until they meet them for the first time?

How do I deal with discrimination?

Deciding whether and how to tell someone else about your child's disability can be especially difficult for people from black and minority ethnic groups because of how their cultures can stigmatise disability.

I don't know what the other person's reaction will be

When disclosing anything to other people there is always an element of risk as you don't know what their response will be.

How do I tell my new partner?

There are other people apart from family and friends you may want to tell.

How do I tell my employer?

Another person you will need to tell is your employer.

Further help

More help and information on learning disability.