Five things friends and family can do after a special needs diagnosis

1 Show up.

Sometimes friends and families stay away from loved ones with a new diagnosis simply because they don’t know what to do. Showing up and letting the family know you care makes a huge difference in their lives.

2 Research the diagnosis.

If you don’t know anything about the disability, do a little research. If you look online, make sure the resource is reputable and up-to-date.

3 Talk to your children.

Once you learn about the disability, if they are at an appropriate age, explain it to your children. Stigma is broken with educated minds. Explain disability in a way that isn’t scary and tells kids that we all are made differently.

4 Give tangible help.

Everyone needs it, but especially families in crisis. Bring a meal, watch other children and visit them in the hospital.

5 Refrain from platitudes and pat advice

If a family is grieving a new diagnosis, the best thing to do is to let them know you care, and to listen.

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