When your child was diagnosed with additional support needs you will have had a very personal response to this news. You may have felt emotionally overwhelmed, confused, shocked, had a sense of disbelief and you may have even been in denial. All of these feelings are normal, there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Your feelings are deeply personal and unique.
Research suggests it is not uncommon for parents to blame themselves and others. You may feel sad when you think about the hopes and dreams you had for your child, yourself and your family and feel upset that these may not be achieved.
You may be very confused or frustrated and feel overloaded with too much information, conflicting advice, paperwork for this and that, assessment after assessment and pressure to make decisions. On the other hand you may feel you don’t have enough information.
One of the biggest fears you may have is about the future and what it holds for you and your child. Having a child with a diverse range of abilities is a life long journey filled with twists and turns, highs and lows. Having a diverse range of abilities does not mean that your child can’t live a full and exciting life as an active and valued member of their community, live independently, have friends, have a stimulating and exciting job and other opportunities.
You will find that decisions you make early in life may have impacts on later life and a full view of the life stages will be helpful. Understanding your life stages offers several insights into your future. For parents or a person caring for someone with a diverse range of abilities, understanding the life stages of your family member can help you to prepare for the changes in their lives and the possible impacts on your life.
The change from each life stage to the next identifies major life transitions and periods of change in your life and the life of your family member and a timeframe for planning.
In this section we will explore the different life stages and what supports and services DSA can provide you to live your life, your future and your choice.