Friday, September 5, 2008

If you know something is wrong, what do you do?

If you suspect Asperger's or another learning disorder, these are some steps to take, as I did:

  • Talk to your friends, teachers, other moms. See if they are having any similar experiences. School is a good place where moms network. Don't be shy, approaching different people may even strike up a new friendship. I made friends with another parent whom has a child with Aspergers Syndrome, that's how I got my ball rolling.

  • Talk to your child's teacher, ask them if they are seeing some problems in school. Not all teachers can recognize learning disabilities, they simply haven't been trained to. Remember the Aspergers Syndrome diagnosis is fairly new, so some professionals, even doctors don't know what the characteristics are.

  • If you are not happy with your childs school, research other schools, in and out of your district. Do some leg work and find options. Some districts have an open enrollment or school of choice. Check out Charter and Religious schools. You have to find out what they will do for your child, and if they are willing to adapt. You may have to drive them to and from school, but it would be worth it if your child is getting a good education and is treated fairly.

  • If your child goes to a private school, go to your local public school district. Even if your child does not go to public school, they have to help. In Jacobs case, it was his best interest to change to a public school. They were staffed with specialists, social workers, speech pathologists, etc. I found they were also better at accepting and working with a child with learning disabilities, as the private school had a one size fits all attitude.

  • Talk to the schools special ed teacher, school psychologist, or principal. Ask for an IEP. They have certain tests to give for cognitive, speech and language skills, behavior, etc. They can also just sit and observe the child in the classroom.

  • Be persistent! You have to call people, get their e mail addresses, don't let them drop the ball. There maybe hundreds of kids they are working with. Its easy to get lost in the system.

  • Don't take NO for an answer. If you are not happy with the answers you get- keep searching and trust your instincts. I had to ask for 3 evaluations in 3 seperate years from the school district before they recognized there was something aside from Jacobs ADHD affecting him. I just knew there was something more.

  • Make an appointment with a therapist/or counselor whom specializes in children and learning disorders, and get their opinions.

  • Talk to your pediatrician. If they don't have the answers, ask for a referral.

  • Make an appointment with a Neuropsychologist for an evaluation. Some insurances do not cover this, as my insurance did not, it was thousands but well worth every penny. However, you will know a definitive answer if there is something wrong or where else you should take your child. A Neuropsychologist was finally the answer for Jacob. He was diagnosed in January 1996. Our pediatrician gave us a referral when I suggested that there was something wrong.

  • Take notes of your child's behavior-when this is occurring, and anything unusual. You never know when things will tie together. Even write down what the child eats. I have heard of food allergies that cause attention or behavior problems!

  • Know your rights, check out the No Child Left Behind Act and IDEA.

  • A whole research world is at your tips-use the Internet! I have researched symptoms, learning disabilities, science papers, university publications, found groups, conferences, etc. all on line.

No comments: