The First Step To Take After A Special Needs Diagnosis

NOTE: Born Just Right is growing to offer additional perspective and support to parents of special needs kids.  If you're interested, check out this post.

The moment you get the official word that your kid has special needs is heart wrenching.  Even after months or years of knowing that there is something off, the final diagnosis comes as a shock.  There may be relief at finally having an answer but that is quickly followed by the head spinning possibilities and questions of whatever label has been attached to your child.

I remember walking out of our first IEP meeting with the school district and collapsing in the car.  We had just spent two hours going though every single thing wrong with my daughter and at the I felt like I should buy myself a crown that said "Worst Mother in the World." How could I have never noticed all these issues? How could I have let them gone on for so long?

Then we did it all over the next day for her twin sister.

There was a lot of drinking that weekend.  A lot of crying.  And a lot of self recriminations.  But on Monday I said enough.  And then I said to myself and to my husband: this is not your fault.

And now I want you to say it to yourself.  And then write it down and put it where ever you will see it every day.  Put it on a post it and stick it on your mirror.  Make it a ticker on your screen.  Put it on your visor in your car.

Your child's special needs are not your fault.  This didn't happen because you ate sushi, or had a glass of wine in the last trimester, or because you rode a roller coaster in the first.  It's not because you exercised too much or too little or not at all.  It's not because you had a vaccine or didn't get them checked out soon enough for a fall.

There are a million different possible connections of genes that make each of us.  A million different chances for something to happen.  Don't drive yourself crazy trying to pinpoint one.

You can't control the past but you can control the future.  Don't let yourself be held back by guilt.