Early in the journey: before your child starts school

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There is a lot of help out there for children with special needs, before they even get to school.


Being the parent or carer of a child with special needs is a journey in itself.

This section of Rock Solid talks about some of the early steps in that journey. On many of the pages in this section, other Aboriginal families share their experiences of finding out about their child’s special needs, and of getting help.

Click on the headings below to go to that page.

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The first steps: getting help for your child’s needs

For many parents and carers, a big first stepping stone is acknowledging that your child has special needs. The next step is accepting that there is help available. This page talks about those early steps.

Which path? Talking about labels and community

Sometimes, families might not feel comfortable with the idea of disability or diagnosis. This page talks about how many in community relate more to acceptance, and shared care for every child – in whatever way they need.

Some families’ experiences of diagnosis

On this page, families talk about how they use information from their child’s diagnosis to get solid answers and support, and how they have brought together mainstream and cultural knowledge to find the right pathway for their child.

Next steps: where to go to find help

If you think that your child might have special needs, you can start by talking to an Aboriginal service, or a mainstream service, like your GP or Maternal and Child Health service. This page explains where to start on your journey to get services and support.

Testing and diagnosis

To find out more about your child’s special needs, you might seek a diagnosis for them. This part of the journey can be confusing for many parents and carers. This page gives an explanation about how it works.

What kind of help can you get?

There are many different services out there to help children and families. It can feel like being lost in a maze, trying to find the right ones. This page explains some of the main types of services are out there, and how they can help.

First steps in education: playgroups and kindergarten

These are great first steps for your child into their formal education, helping them learn to mix with other children. Many children’s special needs are picked up at kindergarten or playgroup, as this page explains.

Learn about the language used to talk about special needs

The ‘disability world’ can be very confusing, with its own language for different special needs, specialists and types of support and funding. See our explanations of Key terms for special needs and Key terms for people who can help you and your child.