Thursday, January 13, 2011

Autism: Why get diagnosis?

You aren't having any difficulties and it's been suggested that you may be on the spectrum. Or maybe that's the story for your child? Either way, why bother with diagnosis if you aren't having any difficulties?

Getting a diagnosis isn't always about having difficulties today. It's preparing for difficulties in the future. Few of us have the luxury of a crystal ball and feeling confident about your future and standing in life is all well and good. Unfortunately, life is just not so certain.

Even if you never make use of a diagnosis in your medical records, it gives you something to fall back on. New developments are cropping up every year in services and benefits that you may be eligible for if you need them. Getting proper diagnosis opens those doors for you. If you never need them, good for you, but you should be prepared ahead of time.

Early diagnosis is especially important for our children. Sure, they may not be having difficulties now, but as they get older and life cycles change, they may need the additional supports that are available to children on the spectrum. Studies have shown that early support is more successful than waiting until later. You can find such reports in most medical diagnosis for all kinds of conditions.

I've talked to lots of parents who have fallen into the dismissive "it's just" trap. They don't bother getting diagnosis, despite warnings, because they deny or dismiss the problem. "Oh, Joey's just acting out". That's a dangerous attitude and I've seen the results first hand. I've been approached by parents who find themselves in a desperate situation after years of dismissal. They often say something to me like, "we thought it was..." and then they got surprised when the problem didn't just go away.

Autism doesn't just go away. It's a permanent condition but not the end of the world. It is treatable and controllable in various levels. The early you get the support that's needed, the better (even if you don't have to use it right away). If you don't go and find out what support or treatment is available, get diagnosis, learn about it, you'll only have yourself to blame.


Virginia Revoir said...

Hi! I have an Asperger site and a family blog. :)

You are so right! We found out about my son having Aspergers at 5 yrs old. Why was it important? Because he was expected by his teachers to be "just like everyone else". The pressure on him was so great he would just give up and not try. He felt like he was stupid. Once the teacher had an understanding, she was able to work with him and he felt like trying again. He's a smart boy but just needed some extra help.

David Wilde said...

Virginia, you are absolutely right. My son has also been hard on himself and I'm hard on myself too. But now my son can get the support he needs and guidance. Having others understand is more important than we can express.

Unknown said...

Here is an interesting question for you David. What if you are an adult and are told you might be on the spectrum? Getting diagnosed must be next to impossible. As an adult, how do you differentiate between behaviors that you have "Learned" in order to survive in society and those that would be natural to you had you not adjusted to your best ability.

David Wilde said...

Good question, Lisa. First, it's not impossible or even "near" impossible to get a diagnosis. There are many specialists that one can see and ways to look them up. There are specific tests and questionnaires (I believe I listed them in another blog but that was long ago). From there, all you can do is start learning about the condition and seeing how and where it actually affects you. I learned through seeing my son and researching. Most information and realizations were "stumbled upon" as I went. It really is a "learn in pieces" process though.

Life in the House That Asperger Built said...

This is so timely for me. Both my kids are diagnosed on the Spectrum, and I self-identify as Aspie. Up until recently, I didn't really see the point in getting a diagnosis, but over the last week or so, I've been thinking about getting the "official word". Not sure why. Interesting. Thanks for the post.