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Living without a diagnosis

Some children and young people have learning impairments and/or health issues but no one can explain the cause. Some conditions are diagnosed at birth but others don’t become obvious until a child is older and sometimes conditions aren’t diagnosed until an individual reaches their teens or adulthood.

Conditions can go undiagnosed for a long time because some children develop coping techniques to make up for, or mask the areas they’re having problems with.

Parent carers may first find out their child has an additional need when they are not developing at the same or equivalent rate as other children their age in areas such as muscle tone, sitting, communicating and playing with others. If a child has difficulty meeting one or more of these development milestones, this is known as developmental delay. 

Information for parents and carers who have young children with additional needs where no diagnosis has been made and there is no obvious cause for the symptoms is available in the document titled `Living Without a Diagnosis’  listed in the downloads section.

This resource provides information about: 

  • why it can take time to get a diagnosis
  • why parent carers want a diagnosis
  • how you can access support for your child even without a diagnosis
  • who can help
  • tips and strategies
  • where you can get further information and support

You don’t need to have a formal diagnosis to ask for help for your child. If you think your child may have special educational needs get advice as soon as possible.  For information on what to do and who to speak to, click here.

Once the symptoms are identified you can start getting your child a diagnosis. More than 20% of children are diagnosed with SEN at some point and there is lots of help and advice available.

It’s not just children who get diagnosed with SEN either. When their child gets a diagnosis some parents may also realise that they have the same difficulty. If you’re a parent there’s lots of help available for you too.