Handling Your Child's Disability

Handling Your Child's Disability (<i>cont'd</i>)

When you make the call, explain your concern and request a developmental assessment. The evaluation is usually completed by a multidisciplinary team of professionals (which may include a speech and language pathologist, audiologist, physical therapist, and psychologist), in order to understand your child's strengths as well as any areas of difficulty. The assessment typically analyzes:

  • Gross motor functioning (rolling over, sitting, walking)
  • Fine motor skills (using the hands)
  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive development
  • Social-emotional growth.

The evaluator may use a variety of toys, objects, and observations to see if the baby or toddler is where he's expected to be. After the assessment, you'll receive a written report of the findings. There will also be a meeting to discuss the results as well as a treatment plan that spells out which, if any, services will be provided. This could include anything from fitting a child with a hearing aid to parent education classes or occupational therapy.

How do I handle my child's disability?

Parents who discover that their child has a disability often go through a cycle of grief similar to that experienced by someone who's lost a loved one, including periods of fear, anger, denial, guilt, and deep sadness. There's often a feeling of loss for the expectations you once had for your child, as if your map for their future is no longer useful.

Dealing with the grief and moving forward is vital, because parents have an integral role to play in working with professionals to provide services to their young child. With time and support, love and determination, you can begin to truly celebrate the unique and special child you have.

Jenny Friedman holds a PhD in learning disabilities with a specialty in preschool language and cognitive development. She's also the mother of three.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

Content courtesy of American Baby.

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