The diagnosis of a developmental disability can be a daunting and often confusing task.
For some parents, having a name to go with symptoms makes them feel better. For some it makes them feel as if they are not alone in their struggles anymore. For others a diagnosis is merely words on a page that won’t help with immediate day to day needs . Some parents seek out support networks that are available, while others quietly struggle alone.
As a child grows older, an official diagnosis is less important and more important at the very same time.
The diagnosis of a learning disability can entitle families to various kinds of services and educational options. This is where it can get very tricky. A diagnosis of autism can entitle a family to enough funding, in some cases, to cover private school tuition. A diagnosis of a reading disablity may only cover a very small portion of tuition to the same school for the same child. A stand-alone diagnosis of dyspraxia will only cover a small portion of tuition even though the symptoms sometimes seem to be exactly the same as a child with autism.
This is where a very large source of frustration for parents can come into play. Those simple seemingly innocent diagnosis codes can mean the difference between a family paying $25,000 a year for private schooling or having access to special education scholarship funds associated with those suddenly all important diagnosis codes. For parents who have rejected labels and those checked diagnosis boxes, it may be time to re-evaluate that position.
Where Dyspraxia, OCD, ADHD, PDD-NOS, Apraxia, ASD, and Asperger’s meet is in a mixed up heap of symptoms often co-existing to create a very confusing mix of possible diagnosis combinations. Sadly, there is not a blood test, or a simple X-ray to diagnose developmental delays.
Adding to parental woes is the extraordinarily subjective nature of the diagnostic evaluation process.
Catch a kid on a day where they are feeling uncooperative? Misdiagnosis.
Catch a kid when they are hungry, thirsty, too hot, too cold, (etc…)? Misdiagnosis.
Catch a kid when they are wearing socks with ‘toe bumps’ because all their ‘good socks’ are in the laundry? Misdiagnosis.
**note: Sock ‘toe bumps’ are the seam in socks that happens to exist over the tops of all five toes. (If you didn’t know what ‘toe bumps’ were, count your everliving blessings.)
In some cases, kids outgrow symptoms. Some developmental disorders are never diagnosed and the symptoms are ignored and mislabeled as “traits”. Clumsiness, learning to crawl in non-traditional ways and quirky behaviors *could* be viewed as a red flag or dismissed as family traits inherited from the family gene pool.
Arizona Educational Scholarships
Resource page on autism and many other developmental disorders
Resource page on Dyspraxia