Caring for a child with disability
Children with a developmental delay or disability are first and foremost children. Their disability is not the most important part of who they are.
Each family is unique, but the one similarity with all families caring for a child with a developmental delay or disability is that they are the most constant feature of the child’s life.
Families are experts in knowing their child with disability and bring a wealth of experience to share with support services that provide specialist assistance.
Getting help early makes a difference
If you are worried about how your child is developing, it is important to seek help as soon as you can.
Keeping track of your child’s development in the Blue Book provided by NSW Health, and discussing your concerns with your local Early Childhood nurse can be helpful.
Your local family doctor or General Practitioner is also a good person to talk to about any concerns you have about your child.
Your doctor can refer you for an assessment where you may receive a diagnosis and referrals to other supports to help you and your child.
What to expect when your child is diagnosed
Parents may feel a range of emotions when their child is diagnosed with a disability. Some parents feel relieved when they get a diagnosis because it allows them to move on and find the right kind of help.
The earlier a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can begin to find the help, support or services that will help you and your child.
Support for your child
There are many services that support children and young people with disability and their families.
Knowing where to start, who to ask, or even what to ask can be difficult.
Choosing a service provider
Planning your approach to choosing a service provider will help you work through the options. The Raising Children Website, supported by ADHC, will give you a step by step guide to:
- how to decide on a service provider: starting out
- practical things to consider
- what makes a good service provider?
- summary: weighing up the options
- health information contacts in Australia
Parents who have a child with disability may also be able to receive information and payment through Centrelink.
Know your rights
When meeting with professionals, it is important to:
- ask if you do not understand
- write things down
- trust your instincts
- take a friend or advocate with you.