Being told that your child has a learning disability A learning disability is to do with the way someone's brain works. It makes it harder for someone to learn, understand or do things. can be a distressing experience.
One of the biggest challenges is coming to terms with the fact that your child's future will be different to the way you imagined it.
You may feel disbelief, disappointment, self-pity, shock, anger, numbness, guilt and denial.
Some parents describe the period after diagnosis as a period of mourning, while others feel like it is like a bad dream, or that they are living in a bubble outside of reality.
Your emotions may vary wildly, and parents have told us that they were quite frightened by the feelings they had at this time. This is perfectly normal, and you are not alone.
When you receive a diagnosis, you will probably receive a lot of information all at once, and you may find this too much to take in. In fact, it may be weeks or even months before you feel able to find out more about your child's condition.
Digesting the information
Try to deal with the information piece by piece as you need it, and don't be afraid to ask the people working with your child to go back over anything you might have missed.
Some parents find that getting as much information as possible about their child's condition helps them to cope and plan for the future. Others find their emotions are enough to deal with, and prefer to get to know their child as an individual before finding out more about their learning disability.
It is also important to remember that, with time, your emotions will become easier to manage. Many parents have told us that after a diagnosis they discovered strength, determination and positivity that they didn't know they had.
The mixed emotions that follow a diagnosis can take a long time to come to terms with, so finding ways of coping are very important. Most importantly, don't forget yourself. Having family and friends to talk to at difficult times can help to relieve emotional stress. If you need a break from your caring responsibilities, you should contact your social worker A social worker is someone who can help you get the support you need. Social workers usually work for your local council. or health visitor for advice and support.
View a thread about diagnosis on FamilyHub from a user who's expecting her first child and has just received a diagnosis of Down's syndrome.
Hear her story and what advice and support some of our other users have offered.
How to get the support you need
Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance Guidance means being given clear instructions to be able to do something well. and information about what support we can offer you.
Or why not take a look at our online community A community is the people and places in an area. ? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.