Our life is filled with sweet smiles like this.
I had the incredible honour of speaking to families at the Grandview Children’s Centre last week as part of their “Life After Diagnosis” panel discussion. Grandview is the only children’s treatment centre in the east end of the Greater Toronto Area that offers specialized programs, outpatient clinical treatment and support to thousands of children and youth with special needs and their families.
The panel discussion was an opportunity to bring families together, share experiences and, most importantly, help people realize that they weren’t alone.
I had the opportunity to kick off the session by sharing our story. And I began by reading the blog post I wrote for Syona’s one-year anniversary of being diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I then focused the rest of the session on how I dealt with Syona’s diagnosis and the things that helped me.
My hope was that it would inspire people and remind the families who attended the session just how strong they were — despite the fact that none of us feel we are strong 100 percent of the time. Disclaimer: I am nowhere near qualified to give advice. Heck, on most days I’m not even a well-adjusted person, but this was me sharing my personal journey… so far.
Here’s how I told them I’ve dealt with — and continue to deal with — Syona’s diagnosis:
Following a short break there was a panel discussion with several mothers who are involved with Grandview. They shared their very personal and diverse stories with the families who had gathered. The audience then had a chance to ask questions and share their own experiences. All of the parents who shared their stories and asked questions were so inspiring. They were honest. They were open. They were a community — a community that I am proud to be a part of.
Grandview’s mission is “inspiring possibilities for children and youth with special needs.” I have no doubt that the families I met last week will do everything in their power to inspire their kids and countless others that are in the community. I know that they left me inspired.
And when it all gets to be too much — because that does happen — cancel your appointments, get rid of your to-do lists and play with your kid. Spend some time doing your favourite things. Because, before they are a diagnosis, they are simply your kid.
What “life after diagnosis” advice would you share? What helped you through your child’s diagnosis?
Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners