__Due to ongoing health issues, the Special Needs Homeschool site has not been updated. The resources here are timeless and I hope you continue to visit and share! I am hoping to get back here as soon as the dust settles to update and revive SNH. In the meantime, the SNH Facebook page and group are hopping with resources and support.
To Diagnose Or Not Diagnose? Is This Really The Question?
Some parents wonder if an official diagnosis is necessary when dealing with invisible special needs. They go back and forth in the decision making process and it can be quite overwhelming! For my own decision on this topic, I made a question list to help me decide what to do. I thought I would share these questions with you and it may help if you are quandering this delicate difficult decision.
1) Is a diagnosis just for my own validation? Do I want this because I need to be validated with what I already know? Or will this be beneficial for my child? Will this help me aid my child? Will a diagnosis help me sort out what is going on? Will it give me answers to my questions I don't know? What is going on with my child? Do I need this outside help to figure it out?
2) Will a diagnosis provide my sons with more services? (Incidentally for us, when they were young this answer was 'no' but now that they are older, it has changed to 'yes'. Services depend on where you live, ages you deal with, and the nature of the issues and should be researched extensively.)
3) Will an official diagnosis help those who don't believe my son has issues?
4) Will an official diagnosis aid us if an inquiry is made against our parenting and our homeschooling decision? (Paperwork from professionals to give professionals can be a powerful thing.)
5) Will a 'label' hinder my child's development later on? (If your child has mild issues and may progress without the need for a diagnosis or the place you live carries their academic portfolio into the later years or if your child will not be needing adult services, this is something you should consider.)
Things to consider:
Some parents won't get an official diagnosis based on the fear of the label; Will it demean my child? Hurt my child's self-esteem? I want my child to be known by 'child' first and 'disability' second.
Now I'm going to step out on a limb with this last sentence and give my personal opinion. My Dad had ('had' because he's passed on) a physical disability. I don't ever recall not thinking of him as 'dad' first. It never even occurred to do otherwise. I have met many people over the years with visible and invisible issues and not once did I look and think 'look at that person's disability' instead of just looking at the person. I never had anyone introduced to me as 'disability John' instead of just 'John'. So I have no idea why anyone would think this way, it just doesn't make sense to me. To you, those of you who know me and those that don't, do you see me as 'Jen B'? Or do you see my issues first? I think people who think this way are over-analyzing things. Just my opinion. Now back to the post...
Depending on where you live and what your laws are, you may want to look into a diagnosis. Some places will not provide services unless a child has an official diagnosis by age 9. Some places will 'carry over' the diagnosis into adulthood for adult services and other places may need a re-assessment at age 18. Some places carry a diagnosis into adulthood and the child has to 'live with it' the rest of their lives. Where we live, we can use the 'label' for certain things and drop it for other things. It's interchangeable depending on what my son wants to do with it. If he wants services in college, he takes the paperwork into the disability office. If he doesn't then he just doesn't show the paperwork. It doesn't go if he doesn't want it too.
Another consideration is the drama of the testing. Some assessments are very invasive and you may want to say yes to some and no to others, keeping your child's health and safety a priority. Is this really neccessary for my child's health and well-being? It's a good question to ask for each and every test. Some testing can wait until a child is older and the child is better able to handle it. Some children do better when they are younger and more flexible.
YOU know your child BEST. Not the doctor. YOU make the decision and what's right for your child. Make your decision based on what's best for the child, not what's best for you. Revisit your decision as the years pass and laws and your family dynamics change. I really hope this helps in your delicate decision To Diagnose or Not Diagnose.