Should You Seek Diagnosis?

             When an individual begins to understand AS, and consider it possibly affecting either himself/herself or someone he/she loves, the question becomes whether or not to seek diagnosis.   There is no easy answer to that question.  Remember that this analysis will be based on the situation in Central Oregon in the United States in 2003.  If these criteria does not equate to your situation, your analysis and decision might be very different.

             There are very few professionals anywhere who really know and understand AS and the full ASD spectrum.  It is a new field, and the education process has not incorporated it into the training necessary for degrees. It is too new to be other than a cursory mention in textbooks—and there are just too few knowledgeable professionals to instruct classes in it (especially if the training was obtained here in Oregon).   So your first question might be “how much am I willing to spend to find out if it is AS?”  If you have a limited budget, that might be your answer. At this time it is very difficult to get any insurance company to help pay for identifications of ASD or AS. In addition, very few insurance companies will pay for the therapies that AS or ASD might find helpful. It is best to start with the public programs that are available to help all citizens rather than just starting out on your own.  Remember that the education department, and all the individual governmental agencies (e.g. SSI, DD, Mental Health, etc) will want to run their own tests, and none of them will accept the medical diagnosis carte-blanche.

             No matter what your age your first call should be on the Central Oregon Family Resource Center  (www.frconline.org).  This agency has a wonderful directory and willing staff to help you find whom you should contact, and how to reach them.

             If you have a preschooler and are concerned about AS, please be aware that early diagnosis, and intervention programs have proved highly successful.  There are many different programs available for children from birth to 5 years old, as well as programs to aid parents of that age group.   Not all of them are designed for a child with developmental problems, so you will need to really find out about the programs before committing your time and effort to them.   

             For a school-aged child, contact your local school even if you are home schooling your student.  You as parent can request evaluation for your child.  Be very clear in stating what you want.  By the rules of the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), there are 4 criteria that must ALL be met before a child can be recommended for further testing.  From the ODE website, this criteria is:

Autism - A developmental disability typically affecting the processing, integrating, and organizing of information that significantly impacts communication, social interaction, functional skills, and educational performance. Essential features, generally appearing during the first three years, may include:

(A) Inconsistencies or discrepancies in the development of physical, language, social, or cognitive skills;
(B) Unusual responses to sensory information;
(C) Impaired verbal/nonverbal language or social communication; and
(D) Impaired ability to relate to people or the environment. The term does not apply if a child's educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the child has a serious emotional disturbance. However, a child who qualifies for special education under the category of autism may also have a serious emotional disturbance as a secondary disability if the child meets the criteria under serious emotional disturbance

             If you are an adult, or concerned about an adult, there are many different agencies that might be able to help you. At the present time, your most assistance might come from contacting the Vocational Rehabilitation Division of the State of Oregon.   But, this is a rapidly expanding and changing field.  

             No matter what the age of the ASPIE in your life, you will find that attending a local support group will give you additional insight and information that you will be unable to obtain simply from books. The Special Needs Resource Center at the Alyce Hatch Center is available for anyone to access books, printed material, and computer information on any disabilities, developmental delays, and educational needs of anyone with special needs, and AS is definitely included.  The Special Needs Resource Center is free to all who want to use it.  In addition, there are many chat groups and information sites on the Internet that might help you. 

What is AS
Official Criteria for Asperger Syndrome
Basic Characteristics
Traits by Age
Truth and AS  
Family and AS
Should You Seek a Diagnosis?

Entire article 

 

  "I know of nobody who is purely Autistic or purely neurotypical.  Even God had some Autistic moments, which is why the planets all spin."  ~ Jerry Newport

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"We each have our own way of living in the world, together we are like a symphony.
Some are the melody, some are the rhythm, some are the harmony
It all blends together, we are like a symphony, and each part is crucial.
We all contribute to the song of life."
...Sondra Williams

We might not always agree; but TOGETHER we will make a difference.

 

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