Hoh boy…if I’d have had a clear-cut map on how to do this one. This was by FAR, the biggest challenge and the hugest hurdle to deal with for our family. In Canada, there is no map that they give you on how to accomplish this. It’s different for every child and every family. I personally, think there’s a lot of red tape and a lot of unnecessary garbage that already stressed out families have to cope with, so why make it more difficult to navigate? However, that’s another story.
I want to make this as easy as possible with a few tips on pursuing a diagnosis. These are things you may encounter along the way. Remember, I live in Canada so not all these things will apply to your situation if you’re from neighboring countries. My hope is to give you an idea, from our experience – the problems and pitfalls to avoid, which will hopefully lead to getting your child a diagnosis.
Before I do that, let’s go over a couple reasons why. Why get your child diagnosed? First, you know something’s wrong and you need resources to help your family. Without a diagnosis, this won’t happen. Secondly, for school. If your child is headed to any school outside of your home, they want to see that diagnosis, and from there, they will pursue things like educational testing and “coding”. They will code your child to establish learning areas of strength and weakness. Very important. Thirdly, for your own peace of mind and for any extended family in your life. It gives everyone in your family the ability to better understand your child.
Alright, back to pursuing the diagnosis. I’m probably going to break this up into several parts so please look for up-and-coming posts on this. Otherwise it will just be too long;)
1. Document, Document, Document.
I cannot stress this enough. If you have behavior in your child that does not make sense or is worrisome to you, document it. I personally, spent
the better part of a year documenting everything that I saw in my child that wasn’t right to me. Document examples, document behavior, document sleep
patterns, document meltdowns and frequency of meltdowns. Get as much solid information as possible on paper, then date it. In fact, date everything.
2. Video Document
After I had notes by the handful and written documents, I knew I was still having a really difficult time of proving the difference between tantrums
and meltdowns. I was desperate to get my daughter the help that she needed and so we video-documented a couple of her major meltdowns. This ended up
being instrumental in gaining a diagnosis because her Pediatrician, her Psychologist…they could all see, it was unquestionable proof that her
symptoms and behavior were outside the norm of “typical” behavior for her age.
I do want to add a word of caution to you here though. Please guard your child’s information so very carefully. Video documenting should be for
her Pediatrician or Psychologist or Occupational Therapist only – those of a safe, medical profession. It should never be shared with
well-meaning family members or friends. Guard and protect her dignity this way. I will get into more of the “why” on this in future posts…
3. If you don’t have one already, get a referral to a Pediatrician, preferably a Pediatrician that specializes in child development. There is a
difference. If you can get one, grab him/her and don’t let go.
4. Once you have your appointment with the Pediatrician, make sure you stay frequent with your visits. For our Pediatrician, it’s 1 visit every
18 months that is required to KEEP your pediatrician. If you’re not sure what the frequency is, ASK. Then make sure to keep regular, frequent
visits with your doc, carefully documenting with him/her your concerns and keeping it all up-to-date. Even if it seems like the visits aren’t
accomplishing much, this will be important for attaining a diagnosis later.
More in future posts…