Families who have a child with a developmental delay or disability agree that the sooner you get a diagnosis from a qualified professional, the better. The process you need to go through to find out whether your child has a delay or disability can seem complex, and it might take a while. Although children often get diagnosed in the early years, diagnosis can happen at any age. For some children, it’s possible to say exactly what condition or disability (or multiple disabilities) they have. For others, it’s a gradual process that takes many months or years. And for others, it might not be possible to say exactly what condition a child has, or the child might need further tests and observations in the future. The process of identifying a child’s disability or delay can vary a lot. The pathways shown here will help you. They break down the steps to diagnosis and explain them for you.
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If you’re on a waiting list for a diagnostic assessment, it’s likely you will have already started some sort of therapy for your child. If this is the case for you, the simple message is – keep doing what you’re doing. If possible, do more. On the other hand, if you’re on a waiting list for diagnostic assessment and haven’t yet started any therapies, it’s a good idea to begin some as soon as possible.
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Families often say that the time while they wait for their child to get a formal diagnosis of a developmental delay or disability is the worst of all. Families can go through a lot of deep anxiety, stress and fear of the unknown. Some families just know there is something wrong with their child but feel that no-one is listening to them. In other situations, relatives or friends might be saying that a child has problems, but the family thinks everything is fine. Whatever your situation, you can get help and support. You need and deserve it, regardless of what your child’s diagnosis says.
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