Learning disabilities, developmental delays or even differences in learning styles can cause conflict and difficulty for any educational setting.
All those initials.
Most people have no idea what they mean, or maybe they know a couple of them. To the parent of a child with special needs, they can be both the bane of our existence, and a source of hope for our kids.
Labels can hurt.
They can make it seem like we’re putting someone in a box. Labels can also get us services. They can limit, but they can also open up whole new worlds of opportunities and avenues to help and support for both the child and the parent.
As a homeschooling parent, it becomes my job to decipher what those initials mean for us and our situation.
As Joyce Herzog states in her book, Learning In Spite of Labels, “I can only bring about change in definable steps that my child is capable of doing successfully.” So find what your child can do successfully!
For us, that means developmental testing.
It’s been years since either of my boys had a full developmental evaluation, so as I wrote about a couple of months ago, we had them both tested. D2 was first, and we learned that he has dysgraphia, which explains why his writing is nearly illegible, even now at the age of 10. The psychologist made some really good recommendations, among them to limit penmanship practice and teach him how to type.
D1’s testing came back with some new labels and two whole entire pages of recommendations for him.
Does that seem like a lot? For me, it was a God-send! The developmental psychologist was fantastic about her wording. She listed every possible thing she could come up with and wrote it up using the names of software, tutoring programs and the like, so that if we can get insurance or adoption support to cover it, it’s there. This is why we went.
He’s on the Autism spectrum.
We were told a long time ago that he was “probably on the spectrum somewhere.” We have a label. It’s not the end of the world. It’s the beginning of possibilities for him. Things we may not be able to afford may be covered by his support package. Things I hadn’t thought of before I am now using with him. It’s a relief. Once again, seeing that the “normal” boxes don’t fit and that I can quit stressing about what doesn’t fit, and just do what does.
If you want to read more about our journey with Autism and how it relates to our homeschooling, I have a whole series called Homeschooling on the Spectrum.
Labels Key: LD= Learning Disability; DD=Developmental Delay or Developmental Dyspraxia; FVS/E= Fetal Valproate Syndrome or Exposure; DS= Down Syndrome; PDE= Prenatal Drug Exposure; ADHD= Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; CAS= Childhood Apraxia of Speech; ASD= Autism Spectrum Disorder; PDD-NOS= Pervasive Developmental Disability-Not Otherwise Specified; PWS= Praeter-Willys Syndrome; FAS/E= Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects; CP= Cerebral Palsy Note: These labels are listed for example, not because my child was diagnosed with all of these things.