• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

On Different Pages

On Different Pages

“Your son will have developmental delays.”

I turned to my husband with a genuine smile, thinking my son, who had been in an induced coma for a week, and who I feared would come home in the same condition, was now being handed a hopeful future.

My husband, seeing my smile, twisted his face angrily and quickly left the NICU room, slamming the door behind him.

The same words were spoken to both my husband and I, in the same place and time, by the same doctor; how did we hear them so differently?

Miscommunication happens all the time.

We send a text, thinking our tone and wording was spot on, and somehow our intended meaning gets lost through the technology.

The same can happen when we leave out critical information we expect our audience already knows.

And for many conversations this doesn't bear much weight; if we want to clear things up, we can and if not, no harm done. Simple misunderstanding.

But when the topic is our child's medical diagnosis, good communication is absolutely necessary.

The most important gift we can give your special needs child is a strong co-parenting relationship.

If the parents are on different pages with accepting this life-changing information, we've got a bigger problem than the diagnosis itself.

Don't lose hope; there are many ways to keep communication open and less tense. A less tense home is best for everyone in your family!

Here are some strategies if your child is newly diagnosed and one of you is having a hard time accepting it.

Be patient.

Being patient with your partner as they process a diagnosis shows them their emotions are important, valid, and worth waiting to hear.

Be patient as they adjust to new medical terms, too. Care plans, specialists' roles and treatment always include medical jargon, which can be hard to understand.

Allow your partner time to process.

Receiving a diagnosis for your child is both a relief and the start of a roller coaster ride, the track, twists and turns of which you can't predict.

It is altogether frightening, angering, depressing and exhausting. Giving your partner space and time to process lets them know you will be with them along the way.

Ask them, “Is this a good time to talk?”

You've just come back from a great appointment with a rehab doctor. You're excited to share what he said with your partner.

But will they perceive the information in the same light as you did? There's no better way to find out than to ask first if you can share.

And if they say no, accept that and agree to talk when both parties are feeling up to it.

Try to keep emotions in check.

Your son is about to undergo surgery and you're freaking out. Your daughter just had her first seizure.

Your child is starting school, beginning with a new therapist, finally getting a piece of necessary medical equipment, traveling out of state with you.

Whatever the new event, you're going to have strong feelings about it – good or bad - because it's happening to your own child.

But emotions running high are going to affect you, your child, your partner, and your perception of what is happening.

Acknowledge your feelings and share them with a trusted friend, or write them down in a journal.

Then approach the situation with your partner, with your emotions less intense. This will allow everyone to stay calmer and more clear headed.

Being a special needs parent is a joyful and rewarding role unlike any other. It can also be very difficult at times.

When you and your partner are on the same page with support of each other, you can and will enjoy that role – and your child – together.


Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Victoria Tkachuk

Meet Our Blogger

I'm from the Midwest region of the United States and I have four children, three neurotypical daughters and one son with dyskinetic cerebral palsy. My goal in writing is to connect special needs parents and make inclusion a reality in all our lives.

View Victoria’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...