LIFE AFTER MY CHILD’S DIAGNOSIS
Once a diagnosis has been made, the news is often either entirely unexpected by the parents or confirmation of their suspicions. If it is the former, it might be a daunting time for the family. A diagnosis, on the other hand, might be a source of relief for some parents, some of whom have ploughed through copious information and have long suspected certain conditions. For these parents, a diagnosis would mean putting their fears to rest and finally being able to move forward.
Recognize your right to go through the grieving process
If you are the parent of a child who has recently been diagnosed with one or more life-changing developmental-related disorders such as Developmental Language Disorder, Dyslexia or others, it is natural and within your right to go through the grieving process, every individual approaches it differently. Recognizing how this affects your mental wellbeing, your body, and your child would be an important first step.
When we reach the conclusion of the diagnostic process, we often assure the parents that it is completely normal and okay to calm down, take a deep breath, and digest the news. Being in crisis mode means that the body is physiologically in a panicked state, which affects the decision-making process.
Parents may find it helpful to converse with other family members or a support system when grieving. Mental health professionals and teletherapy in Singapore are also available to assist parents to move on.
Recognizing if an internal state of crisis persists
When an individual is in a state of crisis, it might signify one of the following:
A knee-jerk attempt to seek immediate assistance. There is practically little attempt to learn more about the condition thoroughly and consider the choices.
A highly stressed state in which impulsive and poor judgments are inevitable, further straining the relationship with family members.
A feeling of helplessness, with minimal attempt undertaken to modify the situation.
An internal state of crisis is unhealthy, both for the parent's state of mind and for the child's prognosis. Recognizing this and seeking help to first come to terms with one's own mental health status would be appropriate.
Hope in the midst of Recovery
The knowledge and understanding that the brain has the capacity to change present itself as hope for advancement. One of the most common questions we hear as interventionists are, "Can he ever go to mainstream school?" Other questions include "Will he be able to cope up in secondary school?" or "Will he ever be able to attend university?"
For therapists, it is often difficult for us to predict ahead on the outcome as this is dependent on so many factors such as Professional Challenges, Academic Challenges, and Social Challenges. From experience, these are our observations:
A good outcome would often mean an improvement in one’s quality of life. This would include the quality of life of parents or caregivers;
A good outcome may not just cover academics but the development of the whole person, their resilience and the presence of a growth-seeking mindset;
A good outcome is often directly or indirectly enhanced by parental involvement. Parents’ very direct involvement would feature importantly in conditions such as autism spectrum disorder. Parents’ own decision-making, whether in terms of the types of intervention, the frequency of intervention, or the schools selected would have an influence on the outcome of the child. This is why equipping parents with the right information can go a long way in helping them make sound choices and decisions.
A child with different learning needs may force us to think deeper about what we want out of life itself. This itself may be a blessing in disguise since one does not need to go through half of our life before discovering this important fact. It can be a course-changing experience! With support, good counsel and appropriate intervention, it can be a life that is filled with rich and rewarding relationship experiences. Your parenting journey may look unconventional to most but finding meaning out of that experience would be key to a meaningful and fulfilling journey.
Speech Language Pathologist
How and where to get it?
People often look for children's therapy services in Singapore such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or school readiness in Singapore; however, determining which therapy is necessary requires a diagnosis.