The early impact on a family of a retarded child

Diagnosis of an abnormality now frequently happens in pregnancy from screening tests or from ultrasound scans, all of which are routinely offered. Termination of pregnancy is offered. However, negative tests by no means guarantee normality but are often interpreted by the parents as meaning that major disability is ruled out. Hence the disappointment when a child is born with a defect is even more intense and follows a prolonged highly anxious period with a baby in special care. Initial hope is followed by temporary relief and hen by the reality of gross developmental delay. Others believe they have a normal child until they become aware of the slowness of development or the onset of seizures occurs in the second half of the first year. Parental reaction to these tragedies is often anger mixed with grief.

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