Our kids got diagnosed with their respective “labels” within the last two and a half years. Those labels include High Functioning Autism (formerly Asperger’s), ADHD, and dyslexia. No child was exempt. Two of our kids have HFA, two have dyslexia, and one has ADHD, though I suspect another one does, too.
For a long time, I worried about getting the official diagnosis. I was worried about my children being labeled, worried that doors might close in the future for my children because of their labels, and worried that they would think less of themselves.
But in the end, my husband and I decided, for several reasons, that getting a diagnosis was worthwhile. Here’s why.
The Label Can Open Doors
I worried that the labels would close doors for my kids, but it’s really just the opposite—it opens doors. With both HFA and dyslexia, other people can see that something is different. They see this when one child has to read aloud and struggles much more than the child should for his or her age or when a child gets overwhelmed by a chaotic environment because there’s too much sensory input.
Now that my kids have the diagnoses, we can relay that information to teachers, future employers, and family. With a label, their behavior suddenly makes sense to others. Others are more willing to accommodate them because they know why the child is having trouble.
My Kids Already Knew Something Was “Different” about Them
For each of my kids, when they found out what their diagnosis was, they felt relief. Suddenly it made sense why they had struggled and felt different than other kids. I hope in the future they will even feel empowered by their diagnosis, but that hasn’t happened yet. (After all, people with HFA and dyslexia have a unique way of seeing the world that can help them in ways that aren’t available for neurotypical people.)
Help Is Easier to Get When There Is a Label
Without a HFA diagnosis, neither of my children could get ABA therapy, which insurance pays for. Without a dyslexia diagnosis, my kids couldn’t get a special scholarship that they are currently getting that helps us pay for the Barton Reading and Spelling System.
The Child Can Get Accommodations
If you homeschool, you may not think this reason is not important because you as the teacher can provide the accommodations regardless of a diagnosis. However, you may send your child to school at some point. I had no desire to send any of my kids to school, but for Bookworm, right now school is a better fit. I was very glad that he had his diagnosis so we could get accommodations for him at school.
Even if you never send your child to school, if they go to college, they may want/need accommodations, so a diagnosis is vital.
You May Discover Other Issues
My cousin also has a child with dyslexia, and because she went through testing to get a diagnosis for the child, she also found out that he has slow processing speed, which is vital information to understand how he learns and how he can get assistance.
You Can Prepare Kids For Their Future Children
Dyslexia has a genetic connection, and it’s highly suspected that HFA does, too. For my two with dyslexia, they have a 50% chance of each of their children having dyslexia. Since they are aware of this, they will be able to watch out for the signs in their own children and also see the signs earlier than we did with them. (My husband discovered he was dyslexic after we began to think one of our children was. There are many people out there who think they just weren’t good at school when really they have undiagnosed dyslexia!)
If you have a child that you suspect has a disability, you may be reluctant to get a diagnosis and “label” your child. However, in our experience, having a diagnosis isn’t too be feared; it just gives a name to the symptoms you and your child are likely already seeing. In fact, a diagnosis may help your child succeed now and in the future.
If you have a special needs child, did you seek a diagnosis, or are you intentionally not seeking a diagnosis for fear of what the label may do to your child and his/her future?
I’m participating in Blogging through the Alphabet. You can find more blogging through the alphabet posts at Doodle Mom’s Homeschooling Life.
My Blogging Through the Alphabet Special Learners edition posts:
C – Change
D – Dyslexia
E – Exhaustion
F – Fellowship
G – The Good Doctor
H – Homeschool
J – Joy