When researchers report new growth in the numbers of kids with special needs, it creates a stir. I get that, I do.
Those who don’t have a kid with that label don’t generally understand the months and years behind trying to find a diagnosis, trying to get your child to catch up their peers, or even just trying to complete therapy. Instead, they see the rising numbers and say parents are looking for excuses, professionals don’t want to do their jobs, or the world is just too label crazy.
I say … they’re missing the point.
The fact is, whether you agree that the number is 1 in 6, or whether you think it is more like 1 in 20, or even 1 in 50, more kids than ever are being diagnosed, by specialists. What reasoning does a parent have for seeking a diagnosis when there is none?
Did I enjoy countless hours of therapy?
Did I get a kick out of endless hours worth of evaluations and doctor’s visits?
Do I appreciate knowing that each of my kids’ futures are going to be harder?
So, when you bring up the statistics and say that even one parent is just being lazy and getting the diagnosis because of poor parenting; when you even once say that professionals are diagnosing more kids because it’s the flavor of the month; or when you try to discount the jump in numbers for any other factor–you are missing the point. You are devaluing me and every other parent out there who fights daily, who has for years, and will for years to come.
So, special needs parents, read news reports like this and be warned – they aren’t talking about you. They are talking about parents they don’t know, specialists they haven’t talked with, and about kids they will never meet.
And if you are not a special needs parent and read a report like this, remember that a diagnosis exists first to serve the affected individual and their family, and that the vast majority of kids talked about aren’t the kind of kids I have. And they sure as heck don’t know all the millions of special needs parents out there, so how can they possibly devalue even one unknown diagnosis?
Consider the reality that my family and the millions like mine live with, daily. You won’t find it in an article, but send me a line and I might be willing to share a quote or two.
I just have to find the time first.
Interested in reading more about what I have to say about current research:
What do you think about these kinds of articles?
Do they present important evidence?
Should special needs parents take them seriously? What about the general public?
Do YOU have a special needs child? How do stories like this make you feel?
The original story I read which inspired this post, which talks about recent numbers published that say 1 in 6 kids will be diagnosed with a developmental disability.
Some say there is an epidemic of children with autism and ADHD. Others say it is really an epidemic of hyperactive parents, teachers, counselors and medical practitioners too eager to diagnose and label.