To Diagnose or Not, That is the Question (#SpecialNeeds)


With the return to school, our kids have started with new teachers and potentially new classmates, so it’s our time once again to help the new teachers and classmates understand our special children. This year, I’ve been hearing more parents talk about whether or not to tell the school, teachers and friends about their child’s diagnosis or special needs. Personally, my belief is to tell…tell everyone! The more people who know about your child’s needs, the better they can help support you and your child.


My son is “fortunate” to have just one diagnosis: Autism. Although Autism is trying and testing some days, it’s a very simple and relatively understood diagnosis, and one that has a lot of supports in place in the school system, and the medical community. Don’t get me wrong, I need to stay on top of everything to ensure he gets the support he needs to succeed in school, and later in life.


Friends of mine are constantly searching for a diagnosis for their child and they are frustrated. Every new specialist they see offers a new diagnosis, which negates the diagnosis they received from the previous one. As a result, they can’t get the appropriate external support for their child.


I’ve heard others recently whose children are at the age of starting school and they have an Autism or Aspergers diagnosis for their child, and are really wrestling with whether or not to tell the school and the new teacher of the diagnosis. When they ask me, I give them a very simple answer: TELL THEM!


Others wrestle with whether to tell their own family and friends, fearing those friends and family will treat them and/or their child differently. My harsh opinion is to cut those friends and family. Being a parent is stressful enough, let alone a parent to a child with special needs. Having friends around who aren’t willing to understand your child isn’t helpful to anyone involved.

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