Advice for the new special needs parent

So you’ve just gotten a diagnosis. You might be scared or worried or just blank on what to do or where to go from here. I’ve been there. Three times. I get you. So let me help.

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First and foremost, breathe. Your child is the same child they were before the diagnosis and getting that diagnosis is a good thing! Because now you know more and that means better understanding their struggles and their quirks that may baffle you.

Second, your child being “different” is not a bad thing. Things might be hard right now, but as they grow you will find things about them that you love ferociously, and in doing so, realize those things are part of their diagnosis. Part of them. We don’t love them in spite of the diagnosis. We love all of it.

Also, don’t buy into the whole “treasure every part because they grow up so fast,” BS. It is okay to get frustrated. It’s okay to get overwhelmed.

It’s okay to say “I love my kid. But I do not love meltdowns.”

Finally, take every part of you that cares about what other people think of your parenting, and throw it out the window. Your parenting will not be the same as neurotypical parents. Sometimes taking advice from people who are in different situations, although well intentioned, can cause your child and your family more grief and trouble than following your gut.

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YOU are the parent. YOU know your kid. Listen to experts and doctors and go for therapies and all that, but not blindly. There are tons of resources and many adults who used to be that special needs kid who can give insight on what was good and bad for someone like them.

And mostly, breathe and hug your baby. Whatever their diagnosis is, there’s always something beautiful in it that just adds to the wonderful person they are already turning into. There’s a ton of us going through the same thing. You are not alone. And we got this. 🖤

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