Forum: Learning Disabilities and Special Education
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Hey everyone, my name is Tricia. My 5 year old recently was loosely diagnosed with Asperger's. In other words, the doctor said she would be glad to give the diagnosis to us to help us with the school system, and to get her some much needed services. She displays many of the traits, but she also comes across as a "typical" kid. So, here is my question....
What harm could come from accepting this diagnosis? What do I need to consider before doing it, or not?
I'm not a parent of a child with Asperger's but I am the parent of a classically autistic son. He carries his diagnosis with him in school being that he's in an integrated preschool. I've only ever noticed positive things coming from his "label." He receives the help he needs and thankfully is too young to know he is different, he is 4. I think that having the diagnosis down on paper for the school is very helpful for both your child and those who work with her.
My five year old son was also given this diagnosis this year. He is currently in kindergarten in an integrated school system (I believe all of the schools in Canada are integrated). At the beginning of the year he really struggled and we were getting notes home from school every single day, but at home he seemed normal to me. He wasn't acting any differently than he ever had. The thing with Aspergers is that it is basically high functioning autism. They might seem like a typical kid, but their behaviours are drastically different. Most of the time, Aiden seems like a normal guy who loves to play and learn. He is very friendly and he loves school. But ANYTHING could set him off. Something as small as a school assembly or another child staying home from school because they are sick are really hard for him to handle. He would start to scream and then throw chairs just because he wasn't sure what to do and couldn't understand why things were different than the normal routine.
In December we received a diagnosis and accepted the physician's advice to put him on a low dose of medication that would help with impulse control (such as throwing chairs, knocking stuff off tables, etc.). It has helped tremendously! I admit I was very wary of trying a medication since I had seen other children in my circle on behaviour altering medication which drastically compromised their personality. I didn't want that for my little guy. I couldn't stand the thought of him becoming sullen and morose, but the medication has not altered his personality at all.
I guess in our experience we are pleased that he has been diagnosed because now we know what we are up against. We know that he really needs a routine and we can help him through transitions or changes that might come his way. We know what medication can do to help, and we are learning more and more every day. The children at school just love him and no one has said anything nasty to him or treated him differently than any of the other children in the class, so I don't think you would need to worry about that.
Phew! Sorry to threadjack, I just know that our kids are the same age so maybe in reading our experiences, it might help.
If you feel comfortable with your child carrying this "label" for the rest of their life and you and your doctor really feel this is whats wrong with your child, then I would say yes..but if you feel this might be misdiagnosed then I would consult with other doctors and try to contact your social security department and maybe they can help you get free testing for this. It has taken us 6 years for a doctor to listen to us and finally found one who diagnosed him with Autism then we had even further testing done through the state with a pyschatrist to determine that he has Asperger's. It does help the child to get the help they need, but if you have any doubts that this is not what your child has then push for further testing. Best of luck!
I definatley agree with others. If you feel that it is the correct diagnosis, having the label could get your daughter the help she needs at school and other places, but if you feel that something else might be going on I would push for further testing. My son was diagnosed with high functioning autism when he was 3.5 and the diagnosis has only helped him. He is 6 now, in a regular kindergarten classroom (with very minimal supports) and doing great. You can still tell that he is "different" in his interactions with others, how literal he is, and his learning style but if you didn't know anything about autism you would just think he was quirky. He has had speech therapy (he is caught up now), occupational therapy (for sensory issues he is still dealing with), and for the last year has been receiving ABA therapy. All of these have made a huge difference.
My son is 7 years old and was diagnosed recently at school.. So far everything they have told me about their 'plan' for him has been positive and I think its a great idea. They can no longer push him aside at school as just a 'bad kid' & now have to address his needs because of the official diagnosis from the school psychologist. If you have no problem with the label I'd say do it... its just a label and doesnt change the fact that your child will remain your child with or without this diagnosis, but it may help for the schools to help you and your child with a good support system!