Your child is diagnosed as what???

I am not a perfect teacher. I know I write as if I were, but the truth is…there was a kid I missed. He was quiet, obedient, and did his work. He had a few quirks, not quite as social as he could be, wrote so hard the pencils would break, didn’t like to read (his sister is a rockstar reader and student, so that was tough). But truly I did the best I could with, ahem, the diagnosis I was presented with… Learning Disabled. I taught reading strategies. I taught coping skills. I taught communication skills. I listened. I encouraged. I genuinely liked (still like) this child.

When he was diagnosed with a second disability — Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), I rearranged my thinking. I changed my teaching techniques and added accommodations up the wazoo for this sweet boy. And yet, there was still something I couldn’t put my finger on. It was at this time that I left work and began to see him one on one. LD, CAPD… that was it? His beautiful mother and I had many conversations about why he wasn’t succeeding as he should be. He had a pretty good IEP (thank you very much) and the teachers seemed to be on board. Mom pushed, (yay!), for one more evaluation. The diagnosis… PDD. HUH?

PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. It is part of the spectacular Autism Spectrum, much lower on the spectrum than say, Aspergers. {Lightbulb} Little eye contact, trouble with pressure when writing, struggling with making friends, enjoys solitary activities and was introverted in classroom situations. I was mad. I mean MAD that I didn’t get to this first. Here I am, WunderTeacher, and the signs were there and they were bright. I was too busy focused on the other two disorders to not see the billboard shining in my eyes.

I will say that I contacted the mother before this blog to have her approval with regards to writing about her journey. She wanted to make sure that I focused not on my missing the diagnosis, but the advocacy that occurred afterward. I am going to guess there are some of you, reading this blog, that have children with one, two, maybe even three or more disabilities which are hindering educational growth. The trouble comes when you have to choose which one is the “main” disabilitiy…ie. which one is making the most educational impacy and the main reason why your child is struggling in school. I encourage you, strongly, to make sure all diagnoses are taken care of and addressed on the IEP. While LD was and is the main diagnosis of my little buddy (umm, now getting ready for high school), there still should be goals for his PDD-NOS to help him prepare for LIFE. You know, the thing that happens outside of school! If your teacher says that they can’t have any goals for your child’s second or third diagnosis because of lack of educational impact, I say, baloney. If your child has Cerebral Palsy there would be an OT goal for his/her need. There should be goals to meet your child’s social needs if there is cause. Let me be firm, if your child has ADHD you can request SOCIAL GOALS be put into the IEP.

What? Yes, don’t you think that your child’s hyperactivity has a social impact along with an educational impact? I know there have been tears shed over your child being mistreated, discouraged by classmates and probably even teased. I know your child has cried over missing a birthday party or two. I dried those tears for a few of my little buddies, even cried a few of my own.
Talk with your teacher about how to teach your child to advocate for his/herself. Give them the words to use in social situations when they are met with disagreeable children. Teach them about David and Goliath! I know I am so thankful that the mom and child I had the pleasure of working with trusted me enough to work through some of this with him at a younger age. Just last week she told me that he advocated for himself in the classroom. VICTORY!
No matter what your child is diagnosed as being- ADD,ADHD, AU, PDD-NOS, Deaf, Blind, DD, BED, whatever… advocate. If you have a feeling in your gut that things are going the way they should, act. Stand up for your little blessing until they learn the skills to stand up for themself.
I wish I would have listened harder to my little voice when it came to my favorite student. I am sorry, friend! But hopefully others can learn from my mistake and fight for their little voice to get some answers.

Jill Critchfield

Jill is so excited and blessed to be a part of this amazing blog! Jill is here to put her National Board Teachers Certification in Exceptional Children to good use sharing her expertise through blogging. Jill understands living with and loving those with disabilities as she has had a joint condition and heart condition her whole life! Jill is blessed to be home full time with her beloved husband, Michael, and their rambunctious 5 year old son, Bodie, and naughty puppy, Ramsey in Wilmington, N.C.

Related posts:

adhd and school, diagnosis, special education (IEP) ·

About the author

Jill is so excited and blessed to be a part of this amazing blog! Jill is here to put her National Board Teachers Certification in Exceptional Children to good use sharing her expertise through blogging. Jill understands living with and loving those with disabilities as she has had a joint condition and heart condition her whole life! Jill is blessed to be home full time with her beloved husband, Michael, and their rambunctious 5 year old son, Bodie, and naughty puppy, Ramsey in Wilmington, N.C.

7 Comments

  1. Caroline says:

    I completely understand this, from a parent’s point of view. My daughter had the same experiences, but all we got was “learning disabled,” “language processing issues,” etc. After fighting for more testing, she was diagnosed PDD-NOS, Sensory Processing Disorder and ADHD, as well as low general memory and processing issues. Finally, we have a direction. 

    Caroline
    lifeunfocused

    Reply
  2. guest says:

    What testing for PDD-NOS, and Sensory Processing Disorder is done?  I’ve struggled getting a real diagnosis for my little man.

    Reply
  3. Susan S. says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have had to advocate every inch of the way for my son. It took most of the school year last year to get a 504 plan for him based on Sensory Processing Disorder. He missed qualifying for an IEP by a sliver. This year, he has qualified for an IEP, and he was also diagnosed with ADHD as the IEP was being written. However, there was nothing written into the IEP about Social Goals (study skills, yes, social goals, no). He just finished 3rd grade and has had a more than miserable experience in school since first grade. I know that he is perpetually lost and checks out and misses directions, and he won’t ask for help. Now I understand that he needs help in this area, and it needs to be on his IEP. Thank you so very much. I don’t know why the people writing his IEP didn’t bring this up.

    Reply
  4. Sonya Burgess says:

    I too live outside of Wilmington, NC and came across this blog as I was looking for a place to find support and information. My son was diagnosed developmentally delayed, ADD/ADHD and as well as CAPD. He is going into1st grade unable to read and barely writing. I got a call yesterday that they were moving him to a school out of my zone and if I am unable to get him there that he could ride the handicapped bus. I am looking for alternatives to this as the school they are moving him to has alot of issues and is not spoken of very highly by those attending. I wanted him to be where he will truly have the opportunity to be successful and I am not sure where to go for help. The neuropsychologist who diagnosed him with CAPD and ADD/ADHD only said to medicate him and by a 1500.00 computer program to help him. We do not have a lot of money and can’t afford this program, any ideas where and how to help him with the CAPD?? Any and all information would be appreciated.

    Reply
  5. Sonya Burgess says:

    Also forgot to add that he has binocular dysfunction.

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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