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© 2019 THE INCLUSION BLOG. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

An Open Letter To Parents Afraid of Diagnosis

photo credit: Infomastern via photopin cc
photo credit: Infomastern via photopin cc

Last week a good friend asked me, “How do I tell my friend that I think her kid has a disability?”

That’s a painful conversation folks.  No doubt about it.  Most of my friends work in supports; in a related professional discipline or have working experience in the field.  A hazard of working in supports is recognizing when someone needs support and isn’t getting it.  It sucks the most when it’s a child of someone you know.  Especially when parents deny or delay the truth.

To the parents out there struggling with the possibility that their child may need support,

First, you are being very brave on behalf of your favorite little person in the world.  I salute you for your parenting awesomeness.  You’re asking tough questions and finding answers to them.  You rock.

Second, asking questions and getting support can only make a brighter future for your kid.  This Autism Speaks, “Lifetime of Difference” commercial says it all.

It doesn’t matter if the disability is mild or severe or whether it exists at all.  If a child is struggling, they have the most potential for growth, change and opportunity when they are very, very young.  At best, you have nothing to worry about.  At worst, you’ve made a tough situation better by getting the help you and your child needed.  Win, win.

Third, it is 100% normal to be afraid of diagnosis, labels, and stigmatization but don’t let it get in your way.  Leave ignorance behind and embrace knowledge.  It will empower you and ultimately your kid.

Why do I dare to offer advice as a non-parent on this touchy subject?  Because I was a kid with a disability.

I was and am still dyslexic.  Dyslexia is a learning disability that can hinder a person’s ability to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak.  It is caused by an impairment in the brain’s ability to translate images and sound into understandable language.  It is not due to brain damage or a lack of intelligence.

With my parents help, I didn’t just overcome my dyslexia, I triumphed.  I have so much gratitude to my parents for rescuing me from a life of illiteracy by having the patience, and perseverance, to provide the support I needed.  It’s thanks to them that I have a university education, a job I love, and a shared love of the written word.

Don’t be afraid of diagnosis.  A label is what you make it.  Don’t let it define you or your child but find the power it gives you to support and love them in the best way possible.  Continue to ask questions and to push limitations.  After all, you’re reading the words of a dyslexic writer, anything is possible!

Best of luck,

Meite


Inclusion Blog Post

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  1. Thank you for this! I just had my son diagnosed with a learning disability, and am struggling a bit with knowing I did the right thing, giving him a label, and making him “one of those kids in LR”. Knowing it was worth it for you makes a big difference to me. Thank you!

  2. Good Morning Meite,
    Thank you for this insightful letter.
    I admire how you said so much with so few words; that is an art.
    Fran Schulz
    Epic Opportunites

  3. What a wonderful, empowering message to many people struggling with this situation. You are definitely a credit to your profession and an inspiration to us all.