I feel so guilty. Why didn’t I pick this up earlier?”

When your child is diagnosed with a learning difficulty, your feelings and emotions will go into overdrive. These emotions will be influenced by the time it has taken to get the diagnosis and how the delay has impacted your child’s confidence and well-being.

Here are 5 emotions you may feel

  1. Guilt
  2. Anger
  3. Denial
  4. Relief
  5. Frustration

Let’s look at these emotions more carefully and what you might be saying to yourself.

If you are having an attack of the guilts

You might say…

“I feel so bad, why didn’t I pick this up earlier?”

“I feel ashamed because I didn’t even realise there was a problem.”

“Did I do something wrong while I was pregnant?”

If you are feeling Angry

“I’m mad, why can’t my child just be normal?”

“I’m angry with my husband. It’s all their fault, they bombed out at school too.”

“I’m angry with my father. This must be inherited, he could never read well either.”

‘I’m angry with myself. I should have known about this years ago.”

Anger, frustration, and embarrassment can all be emotions that rise to the surface when you’re dealing with the realisation that your child will face different challenges to others.

You may look to assign blame even when there isn’t anyone to blame.


A diagnosis can be hard to accept because it challenges our idea of what normal is.

To us our children are perfect.

You might say…

“They’re OK. We’ll be fine. It can’t be that bad.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my child, what are they raving on about.”

“I don’t care what the stupid report says. My child just has to work a bit harder, that’s all.”


Some of you may be feeling relieved because your suspicions have finally been proved right. At least now you have an answer.

You might say…

“I feel so much better and more in control. Now I can get some proper assistance for my child.”

“Finally, I know exactly what is going on.”

“Great, now my child can access some of the available education support programs.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, you might say things like…

“I feel lost. What do I do now?”

“Not another thing to deal with on top of everything else.”

“How did this happen?”

“I don’t have the time or money to deal with this.”

Overwhelm and frustration creeps in when you don’t have a plan or when you feel there is too much to do. Setting small achievable goals and making plans can help to reduce your frustration.

It is important to recognise what you are feeling and seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed by these emotions.

“You are the key and the only key to the door of your child’s happiness and success.”

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