The first steps: getting help for your child’s needs

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As a parent or carer, you have your own journey to get help for your child’s needs.

Community shared care

For many Aboriginal families, community is the first stepping stone to getting help for their child’s special needs.

Community have a very strong sense of shared care. Some families may feel overwhelmed with their child’s needs, and they may ask community for support, even before their child can be diagnosed. Families may be able to get help and information from other families with children who have similar needs. This might help and encourage families to seek diagnosis for their child.

Getting help for your child

For many families, the first step into the “disability” world for many families is seeking a diagnosis – a name or label for their child’s special needs. Getting a diagnosis helps families to get the right kind of help for their child. It usually means seeing a doctor, and maybe some other professionals.

The process of getting a diagnosis can be frustrating, confusing, information-heavy and perhaps frightening. Families can be overwhelmed by the unknown, such as the label of disability or the level of their child’s disability – mild to profound. Many families find it hard going to get their head around the medical jargon, funding support and applications that they have to fill in, to get help for their child and family. You can get help from a support person.

Get help for yourself on the journey

If you feel that your child might have special needs, you might have to look around, to get the right help and information. And you might need different help, as your child grows older.

Rock Solid aims to give community an opportunity to find out what support services out there can help your child and family from the get go, even if your child doesn’t yet have a diagnosis.

If it’s hard going, or you don’t feel like you’re getting the right answers, don’t give up. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Your child has a right to the help they need. You can get help for yourself on this journey from a support person.

Many different special needs

There are many different types of special needs.

Some children are born with their special needs, such as children with cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, cystic fibrosis, Down Syndrome and autism. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (caused by drinking during pregnancy) also affects children from birth. Some children have special needs that start later in life because of an injury or chronic illness.

Sometimes children have more than one special need. They might also be affected by chronic illness, like asthma, diabetes, arthritis or chronic ear infections, or they might be recovering from an injury or have mental health issues. It can be hard to know what to deal with first. But you can get your child help for all their special needs.

Some children are diagnosed when they are very little. Some children have special needs that don’t show up until they’re in school. For some children, no diagnosis can properly describe their special needs. But tests they do to find out can still give you information about the help they might need at home and at school.

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