Beyond the Diagnosis: The Path to Thriving as a Special Needs Parent

Beyond the Diagnosis: The Path to Thriving as a Special Needs Parent

by Amy Mattson


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Traveling down the path of a special needs family is an unexpected journey few are prepared for.

A special needs diagnosis can mean the loss of dreams for some families. Author Amy Mattson knows that heartache and wants you to discover true joy along your uncertain journey as a parent of a child with special needs.

When Amy’s two children were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, anxiety, and dyslexia, her family life was in a tailspin of confusion. There was nobody she could relate to, or who understood the journey she was on as a special needs mom. All of the resources she found were regarding her children’s diagnoses or disability. What she needed, however, was Beyond the Diagnosis. She needed to know she wasn't alone and how to thrive as a special needs parent. Let her experience help guide you to:

  • understand the need to grieve your broken dreams
  • overcome the guilt you have for feeling sadness, loss, and grief
  • accept that your feelings of sadness and loss are valid
  • build friendships in your new community and put your isolation behind you
  • realize that precious memories and joy are ahead
  • understand your need for self-care and respite
  • make you and your marriage priorities
  • celebrate the small victories
  • embrace your new reality

Beyond the Diagnosis includes action steps at the end of each chapter. These are meant to help you reflect on the information and apply it to your own life—to guide you beyond the diagnosis to the point of thriving. Some of these action steps will help you to reflect on what you’ve just read and to record your feelings through journal prompts. Others will guide you in putting into practice the habits that allow you to thrive, such as creating a plan to make self-care a part of your routine. These action steps could also facilitate discussions making Beyond the Diagnosis a resource for a support group or a church small group.

The lessons Amy learned took her and her family from a point of grieving to thriving. Her stories, both painful and encouraging, can help you get on the path to becoming the thriving special needs family God created you to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780578480220
Publisher: Amy Mattson
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 222
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents


Part I An unexpected path

Chapter 1 When Life Took A Sharp Turn

Chapter 2 Encountering Unseen Disabilities

Chapter 3 Needing a Second Opinion

Chapter 4 Learning to Grieve the Diagnosis

Part II Adjusting to Your New Reality

Chapter 5 Avoiding Isolation

Chapter 6 The Dangers of Neglecting Yourself

Chapter 7 Becoming an Advocate

Chapter 8 Accepting Help

Chapter 9 Embracing Your New Reality

Part III Thriving as a Special Needs Family

Chapter 10 Your Feelings Are Valid

Chapter 11 Your Marriage Must Be a Priority

Chapter 12 Respite

Chapter 13 Our Children Need Breaks, Too

Chapter 14 Celebrate the Victories

Chapter 15 Experience Life and Thrive

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Beyond the Diagnosis: The Path to Thriving as a Special Needs Parent 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
kamrude More than 1 year ago
This book is everything I wish I had known when I started my own journey as a special needs parent. The author walks you through her journey as a parent to two special needs children in a refreshingly honest way. She sheds light on the extreme importance of recognizing and acknowledging your emotions, even the ones we don't want to believe are there. Amy's story is relatable to anyone who has walked the journey of special needs parenting, but a MUST READ for everyone. Even someone who does not have a special needs child in their life can benefit from reading this book, as it sheds a light on the stigma and the reality of daily life for those of us with special needs children. Amy is raw and honest in identifying that there are HARD things you go through, and there are JOYOUS things you embrace in this journey. I laughed through tears of joy as she shares one of her daughter's major milestones (not going to be a spoiler here!) and cried in understanding as she shares the frustration of not understanding why her son was acting out in the ways he was. Amy makes the reality of every day life in a special needs family a little more touchable and real through this story. Each chapter addresses a vital step in learning to go beyond survival mode and into thriving. The chapters end with Action Steps that help the reader to identify their own feelings and thoughts that they may have experienced walking a similar path. The advice she gives is relevant, and so necessary. This book is truly a gift. I am SO thankful that I read it, and I am certain this will be one that I read again and again.
Kenfish More than 1 year ago
Although I am not a special needs parent myself, "Beyond the Diagnosis" gave me new insights into what it's like to have a child with special needs living in your home. Through her personal story of raising two special needs children (one with visible and one with invisible disabilities), Amy Mattson shares the realities of being the mom of special needs kids. She shares the real-life negatives (such as the feelings that go along with your child receiving a devastating diagnosis, isolation, depression, and exhaustion), and gives hope through practical ways to help your child and your family (such as places to seek help, how to care for yourself, and how to advocate for your child). Each chapter ends with some questions for parents to ask themselves and some action steps to take. Special needs parents can find hope and help through this book. Teachers, friends, and caregivers of a special needs child can gain understanding and empathy for the reality of parenting a special needs child, and can gain practical insights on how they can help. This book also gives insight on actions, words, and attitudes that may (inadvertently) be hurtful to special needs kids and parents.
Mommy-On-Edge More than 1 year ago
"Beyond the Diagnosis" took me on a journey that left me in tears. Not only did I empathize with the author, but I recognized myself in her words. Years of struggling with the stigma and the skepticism of others over the unseen diagnoses of my children had left me with huge feelings of self-doubt and anxiety over each decision that I made, each choice that I carefully pondered and made with as much information as I could with their best interests at heart. I learned that I had never really grieved the diagnoses of my children and that not only is it okay to do so, but it is also a part of learning to thrive in the life that God has graciously presented me with. I also learned that it is okay to feel anger over the cards that your children have been dealt, and then to feel guilt over that anger. Knowing that I am not the only one that struggles with the myriad of emotions that you navigate from diagnoses to coping to thriving left me feeling like my emotions were valid for the first time in a very long time. The author takes you on a very candid journey through her emotions - the shock, the guilt, the anger, the depression and then her uplifting journey as she learned to thrive. She discusses her struggles with anxiety, with coping, with lost friendships and community isolation. Working through the activities helped me find what works for my little family, and how we can find ways to thrive, even in a one-parent household. This book is a MUST READ for parents of children with special needs, and it wouldn't hurt to hand a copy to those in your life that may not understand what it is like to parent a child with special needs, seen or unseen.