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Helping parents with the diagnosis of disability

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jill Cadwgan, Dr Jane Goodwin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The impact on parents and the wider family of caring for a disabled child depends on many factors, including the child’s behaviours, available resources and the families’ coping strategies. Optimal care requires careful management of every stage from diagnosis onwards. How the diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disability is communicated to the family has long-lasting effects. When clarification of the diagnosis takes a long time, this is particularly hard for child health professionals to manage well, and a joint understanding of the process with the family is important. This short review offers guidance for the conduct of the diagnostic consultation referring to the current best evidence and drawing from personal experience. It also explains how current theory and evidence can facilitate better understanding of families’ reactions to a diagnosis, moving beyond a simple bereavement adjustment model towards a nuanced appreciation of parental reaction.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cadwgan J, Goodwin J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Paediatrics and Child Health

Year: 2018

Volume: 28

Issue: 8

Pages: 357-363

Print publication date: 01/08/2018

Online publication date: 18/07/2018

Acceptance date: 25/07/2018

Date deposited: 04/09/2018

ISSN (print): 1751-7222

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.paed.2018.06.006


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