How to Navigate a Disability Diagnosis

In recognition of Disability Awareness Month in March, LifeSpeak Inc. is putting the spotlight on navigating a loved one’s recent disability diagnosis. Numerous resources are available to help you better understand your child or family member’s disability; so, you can help improve their overall quality of life. 

Caring for someone with an intellectual, learning, or physical disability can be taxing on not only you as a caregiver, but on the whole family. Even chronic health conditions can feel overwhelming if the proper resources are not readily available.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.3 billion people around the globe (approximately one in six people) experience significant disabilities. With that staggering number, caregivers are equipped with the tools and resources they require to provide the best care possible.   

But what if you do not know where to start looking for helpful resources?   

After a child or loved one receives a disability diagnosis, caregivers often face challenges to accommodate their family member’s new needs.  

Here are three helpful steps to approach a new disability diagnosis. 

Understanding Your Loved One’s Disability  

While you may feel overwhelmed, anxious, and a little frustrated over a recent disability diagnosis, just know that everything is going to be okay. Educating yourself about the characteristics of a new intellectual, learning, or physical disability is an excellent first step toward caring for your loved one.  

If you believe that your child or loved one is experiencing an issue, gather data via observations and feedback to help articulate your concerns to your healthcare provider. For example, this Issues Identifications Chart can help you spot struggles, particularly in school-aged children, and may act as supplementary support to any underlying concerns.  

Torchlight Parenting & Caregiving, a product of LifeSpeak Inc., offers a vast array of support regarding the everyday challenges of caregivers from all walks of life. Particularly catering to the needs of someone with a disability, Torchlight does not shy away from offering practical content to support caregivers of children or elders. Torchlight’s easily accessible, and educational resources can help you gather valuable knowledge – and understanding – of a loved one’s disability.  

Torchlight is here to support caregivers from day one, onward. If you are already a member, log in to access an array of educational content to help you support your child or loved one.  

Seeking the Right Support  

Addressing a disability head-on can be challenging, but seeking out the right support in terms of treatment, therapy, or physical accommodations will alleviate some stress. But remember, caregivers and other family members also need adequate support to ensure they can be strong pillars in providing care. Avoiding caregiver fatigue and burnout is critical to your mental health and overall well-being. 

After conducting a bit of research, and determining the appropriate tools and resources, the commitment to being your loved one’s support system can take a toll on your mental health. Prioritizing one’s own mental health is paramount to building robust resilience, especially when stressful situations may arise.   

LifeSpeak Mental Health & Resilience, a product of LifeSpeak Inc., offers unparalleled support to individuals who are seeking a healthy balance in life. Offerings include myriad support materials on navigating a loved one’s disability diagnosis on topics such as managing stress during rapidly changing situations, supporting a child with an intellectual disability, and setting priorities while caring for a loved one—just to name a few. If you are already a member, log in to gain access to expert-led mental health and life skills education.  

Being a Continuous Advocate for Your Loved One 

A part of being a strong pillar of support for a child or loved one with a recent disability diagnosis is being a continuous advocate for them. Regardless of the disability, it is important to be their voice and ask those (sometimes difficult) questions to healthcare providers. Especially when it is a child or elder family member who otherwise cannot advocate for themselves, caregivers often must take on the responsibility to ensure proper care is put in place. When caring for an elderly parent, being a translator facilitates understanding between a doctor and a patient.  

Torchlight Parenting & Caregiving, a product of LifeSpeak Inc., offers webinars that focus on being a loved one’s advocate. 

Another factor to consider when advocating for your loved one during a new disability diagnosis is incorporating physical accommodations regarding wellness activities. For example, someone who is now dependent on a wheelchair can still enjoy physical exercise, with appropriate inclusive modification. Chair yoga is a great option that is offered as an on-demand class provided by Wellbeats Wellness, a product of LifeSpeak Inc.  

If you are already a Wellbeats member, log in to harness your highest potential in all things wellness. 

Navigating a new disability diagnosis with a child or loved one can be intimidating uncharted territory – but it does not need to be. With the proper knowledge, support, and accommodations to make necessary modifications to your daily routine, you will have a blueprint for providing an enriched quality of life. 

LifeSpeak Inc. is here to support you in every step of your journey. If you are already a member with Torchlight, LifeSpeak, or Wellbeats, you can sign in to access a full range of on-demand content and tools.  

Want to learn more? Book a LifeSpeak demo today.