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Need to talk - ADHD screeners, what happens? child-labeling concerns, what to do?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone,

 

My 9 year old 3rd grader is having some school intervention -- we just had a meeting with the principal, guidance counselor, special ed teacher, learning specialist and his teacher, and the school wants me to have him seen by his pediatrician.

 

He has some focusing issues, and he is also struggling with spelling.  He is doing well with reading and math. 

 

I am concerned about getting pushed to label and or drug my child  

 

I have called the pediatrician and look forward to an evaluation -- we need to know what is going on -- I am told this will also cover IQ, memory, processing and things like that. 

 

I am concerned about our family's privacy. Do I have to share all the results or diagnosis with the school?  Do I have to tell the school if he is identified as ADHD?  I may want to have more than one evaluation done to get a confirmation.

 

If you have been through this, would you please share your experiences and any suggestions for what you have done to help your struggling child? 

 

Thanks so much,
Karen

post #2 of 8

You don't have to tell the school anything about a diagnosis, but you can't expect accommodations without sharing the diagnosis.

post #3 of 8
It seems odd that they'd suggest you see a pediatrician. I'm not even comfortable with one diagnosing ADHD, let alone all that other stuff. They just aren't trained for that.

I can't see why you wouldn't share a positive diagnosis. Your child is who he is. The teacher can't completely support his needs if she doesn't know they exist.
post #4 of 8

Not with ADHD but I had a similar meeting once when my DC was in 3rd grade. I wanted to opt her out of the special services the school was proposing and they said they would go along with that if I would have her evaluated for a LD. I agreed but ended up not having her evaluated. I know that ADHD is different from and LD and I admit that I know little about ADHD but in my DC's case I firmly believe that not saddling her with a label at that age was the right choice. That's not to say that it wasn't a scary, hard choice to make because it was. And I also recognize that it could have easily been a mistake. I think putting these things off ends up being squarely on the parents shoulders and it's a big responsibility. If you decide to put off an evaluation or to not share the evaluation with school, that you keep a good record of progress so you can be sure of the direction you and your child are headed. Hugs, mama! 

post #5 of 8

I struggled with this too. My son was seen by a psychologist when he was 2.5. She said "high risk for ADHD along with borderline autism".

 

We had lots of early intervention and had him re-tested over the years. No one found him to be near the spectrum. Some said sensory processing disorder and/or dyspraxia/dysgraphia so that is what we went with. At 6 yrs old they had to drop the developmental delay label on the IEP. I was able to keep his IEP with an "other health impaired" label...and he still got minimal in-school services for S/T and O/T.

 

As far as he is concerned, I never told him he had any disorder. When he asked "why did I have to go see those people who put me on those swings when I was little" I explain that he needed some extra help to learn how to climb, hold a pencil, tie his shoes, etc. He seems content with that. He was in and out of ST and OT from age 2-8.

 

As far as the school....I told his ESE pre-k teachers "off the record" that a psych felt that he was borderline autistic so they knew what to expect (he did have a lot of the typical behaviors). I never put it on his IEP. He got all the OT and ST he needed without an autism label, since he had general delaysAt one point, I did put ADD on his IEP but it isn't on there any more. We still have organization, etc. as one of his goals though

 

As far as labels...if it is going to increase your therapy benefits, great. But you don't have to tell your child he has a "disorder" if you don't want to. If he takes meds eventually, you may need to discuss why. We have avoided meds so far. 

post #6 of 8

I am guessing the pediatrician just had to make the referral for the more thorough evaluation, not make the diagnosis his or herself.

 

It can be very helpful to get testing done and to know what issues your child is struggling with. If a child does have ADHD, there can still be accommodations at the school without the school insisting you medicate. A school can never make you treat your child with a medication! 

 

I know some folks who elected not to go with any diagnosis and/or to share it with the school, and when things in high school got really challenging (in terms of needing those executive functions to get everything done), it was kind of too late to go back and do testing/diagnosis, etc. A child with a real LD or ADHD is going to struggle in high school. Any decisions made should take into account the long view of 'what will the child need to succeed in high school when all the coddling and supports are no longer present.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post
 

I am guessing the pediatrician just had to make the referral for the more thorough evaluation, not make the diagnosis his or herself.

 

It can be very helpful to get testing done and to know what issues your child is struggling with. If a child does have ADHD, there can still be accommodations at the school without the school insisting you medicate. A school can never make you treat your child with a medication! 

 

I know some folks who elected not to go with any diagnosis and/or to share it with the school, and when things in high school got really challenging (in terms of needing those executive functions to get everything done), it was kind of too late to go back and do testing/diagnosis, etc. A child with a real LD or ADHD is going to struggle in high school. Any decisions made should take into account the long view of 'what will the child need to succeed in high school when all the coddling and supports are no longer present.


Yes. They say "see your pediatrician" as a polite way of saying, "seek some medical/psych help for this." Or "look into this further." It is likely if you go through your ped you will get referrals covered by insurance, and it is nice to have a family doc/ped. who kind of oversees everything, even if they are not making the diagnosis. Kind of like a "home base." Here there are lots of naturopathic docs who treat ADHD, so it is definitely possible without pharm drugs.

post #8 of 8

Look into getting a  complete neuropychological evaluation.

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