Should I label my child with a disability?
A diagnosis is not a label; it is a tool to help us better understand our children and their needs. A diagnosis is a tool to see how our children learn, think, and develop.
When you get a specific diagnosis for your child, it does not mean that you’ll get all the answers—i.e., within each diagnosis, each child is unique. A diagnosis does, however, allow us to have an outline and a better understanding of what we might expect for our child—and from ourselves as parents.
When my daughter got her first diagnosis, it was overwhelming. I remember saying to my husband, “Is a diagnosis a bad thing?” He reassured me it was a good thing and that we could now read and research.
Once we started reading, we realized that children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are often unable to learn from consequences. This prepared us to learn different parenting styles. We also had to learn new discipline technics techniques. The ones we were using with our other child—e.g., sticker charts—were not going to work with her. Without a specific diagnosis we would not have known this and would have been set up to fail.
A diagnosis is also a great tool to guide you in making sure your child has the best educational opportunities—one that meets their needs and abilities. Knowing her diagnosis gave us a preview of how she would learn. An education with a plan and accommodations in place has helped our daughter succeed.
We knew she would most likely struggle with math. She has a hard time processing and would need extra time to answer questions. While she has the information, she has a hard time pulling it to the front of her brain. These are things her teachers now know and use in their teaching methods with her.
Remember, a diagnosis is not a label, it is understanding.
Read more about getting a diagnosis in the Diagnosis & Healthcare section of Navigate Life Texas.
As a parent to a child with special health care needs, we often must learn little tricks to get things done. Each month Marty shares some of the tips and tricks she has learned along the way.