First of all, congratulations on the birth of your child. You may be feeling any combination of excited, nervous, proud, scared, happy or sad. Or maybe none of them. Every child is unique, and so are your emotions. 

Some people will want to find out information as soon as they are told their child has a learning disability or as soon as they suspect their child may have one. Others will want to take their time to digest the news. Everyone is different. There is no right or wrong way.

These pages are here for parents, wider family members, and anyone else who might be interested in finding out more about diagnosis. They are designed to be there whenever you are ready to read them.

What is diagnosis?

Diagnosis is the formal process by which a learning disability – and indeed other disabilities or conditions – is identified.

Diagnosis can sound like an overly medical term; and, in some ways, it is. It is primarily delivered by a health professional – usually a paediatrician – and is often based on a child’s medical symptoms.

This is important to remember; diagnosis often does not give you an accurate impression of what your child can and cannot do and how they will develop.

It does not tell you what your child is and will be like or what your life will be like as parents, relatives or friends.

It is, by and large, guess work. So, while you may feel that getting a diagnosis is something you would value, it is also essential to remember that nothing helps you understand your child’s needs better than your interactions with them.

How to get the support you need

Contact Mencap Direct, our advice and support helpline, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.

Or why not take a look at FamilyHub? This is our online community for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability, and is a place for sharing experiences, advice and support.

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