If you have just learned that your child has an intellectual or developmental disability, you probably have a lot of questions. You are probably worried and a little afraid. Learning about your child’s disability can help you cope with the diagnosis and find the best ways to help your child. Below are some tips on how to get more information.
Read about it.
Reading about your child’s problem can help you understand it better. Your doctor and the other people who evaluated your child can help you find books, magazines and information on the web about your child’s disability. Some libraries may offer DVDs with helpful information. Your public library may be able to help you search for information online.
If you have other children, you may also want to get information for them to read. This may help them understand their brother’s or sister’s disability better, which can help all of you.
Talk with other parents.
Often it helps to talk with other parents whose children have a similar diagnosis. They may be able to give you ideas about how to help your child learn. If your child has behavior problems, they may have useful hints about things that worked well for them.
You may want to join a support group of parents in your area who also have children with special needs. These groups meet regularly and can be very helpful to you, your child and your whole family. You may also want to join a state or national organization that will give you specific information about diseases or syndromes related to intellectual disabilities.
Talk to your family doctor and other professionals.
Don't be afraid to ask for help or explanations. Many people, such as doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, teachers and psychologists, are committed to helping children with special problems and their families. They may have ideas to share with you and they may recommend reading materials, videos and other sources for information and support.
Identification and Evaluation of Mental Retardation by DK Daily, HH Ardinger, GE Holmes (American Family Physician February 15, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000215/1059.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff