Doctor vs School

by Ali
(Indianapolis, IN)

My son started seeing a developmental therapist when he was 18 months old for a speech delay (a speech pathologist was not available). At age 3 he aged out of the program and went to a developmental preschool for 2 years. This is where I first was approached with the possibility of my son falling onto the spectrum. I took him to a child neurologist who specialized in autism and said that my son did not exhibit any symptoms on autism and thought the school was "crazy" for their reasoning. The doctor wrote a letter to the school describing her findings: Dylan could make eye contact, he was affectionate, he could learn, make friends and pretend play. He did not exhibit any hand flapping, rocking back and forth or repeating words or phrases.

My son started kindergarten this year, and the subject of autism has resurfaced. According to the school, his behavior at times is inappropriate, although they admit that he is well-behaved most of the time. However, there are times that he has difficulty dealing with his peers and often becomes frustrated. They said this is why he falls on the spectrum.

My son plays t-ball and has had no issue listening to the coach or getting along with other kids. He loves playing with other kids and going to the park.

I took him again back to the neurologist who again found no signs of autism.

The school insists there is a difference between a medical diagnosis and an educational diagnosis. Who to believe??

My son's pediatrician doesn't see any signs of autism. My son also sees a child psychologist who didn't see any signs either. He does seem to have meltdowns - although they are improving. I'm concerned and frustrated.

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May 01, 2013
same thing
by: Anonymous

I went through the same thing with our public school. I would strongly advise you to ignore them and stick with the private experts. Sometimes the schools use autism as an excuse not to be held accountable for a child's education (ie set the bar lower) if they are challenged in some way by that child. Also, parents are scared of that diagnosis more than others and the schools sometimes exploit this fact to get parents to do what they want. IEPs are not always a good thing - for sensory and ADHD Section 504 accommodations can be a better choice. That way the child stays on general education but still gets help and protection from discrimination. Focus your efforts on finding the best specialists in your area and then do what you think is right.

Apr 18, 2013
What about something else?
by: Anonymous

Did they give you any other diagnosis, if they ruled out Autism?
This sounds a little like what I went through with my son.. Autism was completely ruled out, but there was something we just couldn't put our finger on.. Long story short, he was diagnosed with SPD and ADHD.
Have you had a therapist or even your pediatrician test for either of these? It could even be ADD without the hyperactivity?
Don't let the school talk you into anything. If the medical professionals said it isnt Autism, it probably isn't.
In my experience, my sons school did not have any clue as to what SPD is, how to treat it, how to handle it, and what kind of modifications to make.. Go with your gutt...moms know best.. .but address these other possibilities with your health care professionals.. write down behaviors that alarm you.. get specific examples.. good luck....

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