Raising a child is a uniquely challenging and richly rewarding experience. This is equally true of children with developmental disabilities. For parents who may have recently received a diagnosis, adjusting to the news that their son or daughter's life might be different from what they had imagined can be hard. Feelings of disappointment are natural. Anxiety about the future is too.
But soon enough she smiles, or he giggles, and those feelings of uncertainty begin to fade. Though different, every person with a disability is a unique individual, with interests and talents that are valuable and enriching. With support from parents and the community, people with developmental disabilities can achieve remarkable things in their lives.
Fortunately, there are many resources in our community that can help families meet the challenges they face each day. The following "roadmap" is designed to help families identify the challenges that might occur on their journey through life and the resources that can help meet them. Since people's needs change over time, our roadmap is divided into three major life stages:
Birth to Age 5
Childhood and Adolescence (Age 5 to 21)
We also invite you to read "Welcome to Holland" by Emily Perl Kingsley, an insightful essay about the unique experience of raising a child with a developmental disability.
Additional information is available at Informing Families, Building Trust, an informational website sponsored by the Washington Developmental Disability Council.