Monday, April 14, 2014

Let's call a Spade a Spade (Special needs: to diagnose or not to diagnose) Part 3

In the part one, and part two , we talked briefly to say that there is some value to seeking help for our children, when we have some challenges of a special needs nature. If you missed them, please see Part One here, and Part Two here.

In this third segment of the series, we'll  speak a little further on a very important objection that comes up for many parents, and follow up with some encouragement.

Consider this thought: In the  analogy from an earlier post, I described a set of concerning symptoms.  

To remind you, here is the paragraph again:

"I want to turn this whole thing on its' head for a moment. Think of this: Your child suddenly has an unquenchable thirst, starts to lose weight, and becomes sluggish. We usually look at a situation like this and decide that this is something that needs medical evaluation. We would want a name for it, and a course of action that we can take to bring relief."

Those are a list of symptoms for childhood diabetes.Take a moment now and consider what might be the outcome, if medical assessment were not pursued for a child with this battle.
I think we'd all agree that there would be long term ramifications of leaving things without some type of intervention.

When we choose to leave special needs without intervention, we can have some unforeseen consequences as well:

*It is difficult to understand what you are facing- you may wrestle with whether you are doing everything you can to help your child 

* It is difficult to access support services- it may be hard to find the right supports. Sometimes you can not access the appropriate services without a diagnosis

*For some issues, early intervention is key

*Parents can be seen as the cause of the child's problems- This can add to your stress

* You may have to keep debating whether to have the testing done

*If the child does not understand their differences it can cause them to feel 'unworthy' or 'less than'. They then run the risk of operating out of that mindset, to their detriment; I don't say this to scare you, but because we have the ability to counter act this, by offering them understanding and supports. 

* Isolation: It is so much easier to find others who can relate to you, and so lonely to feel you are the only one trying to overcome your struggles

But they'll force medication!
We spoke before about special needs issues that fall into the category of medical issues.  You may be concerned, should a diagnosis be made 'official', about being pressured to introduce medication to your child that you are not ready for.

Allow me to set your mind at ease. You will not walk in and have medication pushed down your, or your child's throat. It will, as a course of medical treatment be offered in appropriate situations. It will be given as an option. Medical professional are, by practise, most familiar with the cause and effect of medications. You need see it as nothing more than one of many options open to you to support your child. 

I want to remind you, however, that you are no victim. You have the ability to research ALL of your options. You have the ability to consider all treatments. There are dietary, medical, natural, alternative, and behavioural therapy options. You have the right to use all or none of them. Of course, I don't recommend 'no intervention', but my point is that you are a powerful advocate for your child. There is great benefit in weighing all the options open to you.

You have both the power and the responsibility to look into what is best for your family to manage any symptoms that you helping your child to cope with. When you decide upon your treatment options, it will have been based on your research. Should medication be part of your plan, do not let anyone guilt you into choosing differently. (See 'court of public opinion' clause discussed in the last post. ;) )

In the next post, some encouragement for those whose journey will include special needs, or for those who have recently received a special needs diagnosis.

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