During this time, parents will need time to talk about their feelings and any decisions they are going to make. Close family and friends can be a good emotional support, although talking to a GP, health worker or counsellor may be easier for some people at this stage.
During and after a diagnosis you may come into contact with a number of different health care workers, including GPs, obstetricians, paediatricians, occupational therapists, health visitors and portage workers.
Parents have told Mencap that some professionals are exceptional during this period, while others can be cold and insensitive. Don't be afraid to ask exactly how each person is helping your child, and get them to repeat any information you have missed.
I felt that help started to slot into place when I was given support from the portage teacher. That was a turning point for me - I was being given tools to help my child develop and I started to understand her needs.
If you have a child with a learning disability or a family history of an inherited disorder you may want to consider genetic counselling before having a child, or when thinking about a further pregnancy. This will give you a chance to find out more fully the risks that will be involved and what kind of antenatal tests may be appropriate.
If you think you need genetic counselling, you should speak to your GP or ask your obstetrician, gynaecologist or paediatrician about a referral to a genetic centre.
As a family the demands of your caring role may be great, and it is important that you are given the help and support you need. Talk to the professionals you are involved with, such as your health visitor, portage worker or social worker to find out what help you are entitled to, for example, a carers assessment or short breaks. Many parents also turn to local support services at this time, for example their local children's information service or disability support group.
- Read 'Altered Images: Becoming Parents of Our Disabled Children' (Paperback) available through Amazon