Diagnosed: Now What?

By Sarah Erdman

The process of diagnosis can lead to a slew of emotions for children, adults, caregivers, and loved ones who support someone who was given a new identifier of a diagnosis. Often, communities struggle with what to do with their diagnosis and our current society lacks sufficient resources to guide others in the “now what?” period after diagnostics have been completed.

I have served many roles in and around the disability community for the last decade including, but not limited to, President of a local Special Olympics chapter, educator, school support staff, non-profit advocate, therapist, friend, and loved one. The disability community has an immense reach with so many different people, stories, and diagnoses falling under this category. Knowing this, my experiences will not and cannot accurately reflect everyone under this umbrella, but rather serve as a general guide for those looking for their “now what?” after receiving a new diagnostic label.


While working with those in the community, I have found 4 steps that I often impart on those who are looking for their next steps after diagnosis:

  1. Rest
  2. Define What Diagnosis Means to You
  3. Assemble Your Support Network
  4. Start

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