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Posts tagged ‘Testing’

My Diagnosis and How It Changed My Life

For this latest entry in my little section of CARD’s blogosphere, I want to take a step back from the more research-based topics that I usually tackle and weave a more personal tale. I do this for two (somewhat similar) reasons; namely, I haven’t done so in quite a while and desire an outlet for my (nonexistent) narcissism, and two, the thought of connecting to someone through my writing has always been a dream of mine, and I feel that if just one person who reads this can relate to my story, and somehow see a reflection of themselves, then I have succeeded. In previous writings I’ve done for CARD, I’ve referenced my late diagnosis, but never fully went into detail about the ramifications it had not only on my life, but the life of my family as well. So, without further ado, let me share with you my journey to the discovery of my autism spectrum disorder.

As I alluded to earlier, I did not have the luxury of something like CARD when I was younger. My diagnosis was a late one, which definitely had an ill effect on my childhood and early adolescence. Without a name and “face” to whatever was causing my  misbehavior growing up, the assumption became that I was just shy, introverted and lazy. And while I cannot deny that there may be some merit to those assumptions, they don’t paint the whole picture. My parents thought I was exhibiting these behaviors out of apathy for life, and that I could easily fix it if I just tried hard enough. While this is no excuse for poor behavior, I can assure you there was no way I could cure the issues which ailed me without significant outside help.

My parents, bless their hearts, had no idea what to do with me between the ages of 9 and 15. I often didn’t do my homework, never socialized, outright refused to work or do chores, was disrespectful (though that was never my intent, I later realized why it came off that way), and quit every extracurricular activity I ever participated in. Their go-to punishment were groundings, and they were constant. Not only did they have no effect, they worsened our relationship considerably. Oftentimes, confrontations turned into screaming matches with me ending up in my room in tears. I never wanted to approach my parents, and they felt they were losing their son, so it was clear something needed to be done.

Cue 9th grade, the worst year of my schooling career. At this point, things were at an all-time low, and my mom suggested therapy one day out of the blue. I didn’t have the best opinion of therapy at the time, as my sessions when I was younger amounted to little other than the aforementioned “he’s just shy,” but I figured it was worth a shot if I didn’t want to end up as a runaway. My therapist, Marilyn, really in many ways saved my life. She immediately recognized the dysfunction within my family, and she knew something with me was off. As a therapist, she could not officially make a diagnosis, but she is the one who got me and my family to consider the possibility of ASD, as I fit much of the criteria.

After recommending a licensed psychologist, I went in for several rounds of testing, and the results were… telling. Not only was I diagnosed with ASD (Asperger’s at the time), but several other mental issues I’d rather not disclose. While certainly eye opening, it was almost a relief in a way, both for me and my family. On my end, it was a relief to know that I wasn’t some loser who just acted out of spite, and that there was a reason I was different from all my classmates. For my parents, it was much the same, but now they had something to go on as far as getting help. And help they did! I continued to see Marilyn, we started doing family therapy, I got the medication that I needed at the time, and most importantly, I repaired my once-broken relationship with my parents. Knowing that I had ASD also allowed me to do my own research and help to develop better coping mechanisms that work for me, and as a result I’ve become a more well-rounded, productive person.

To cap all this off, I just want to speak directly to anyone on the spectrum reading this who may be struggling, be it with family or their own self-worth: things will get better. Accept who you are, love yourself, dedicate yourself to self-improvement, and never be ashamed of who you are. If your ASD diagnosis is a recent event and you’re trying to cope with everything, don’t think of it as a crutch or anything to be ashamed of. It only makes you special and unique. Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed this tale.

> G. Sosso

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Why Would I Have my Child “Tested”?

I’m sure over the years you have been asked by either professionals, doctors or even the school if your child has ever been ‘tested’? What does this mean anyway and why would you want to have your child tested?
In the mental health world, undergoing testing usually refers to psychological testing or evaluations. These tests can be very comprehensive and can be a road map for treatment. Many therapists can give screeners, questionnaires and other types of evaluations but a psychologist is the doctor of choice to perform psychological testing.

Here are some reasons why psychological testing may benefit your child:
1. You have been in counseling for some time and little progress is being made.
2. You are not quite sure exactly what is going on with your child but you know something is just not right.
3. You have been given so many different diagnoses and just want to know, once and for all, what you and your child are dealing with.
4. You would like to formulate a treatment plan based specifically on your child’s needs and the areas that they are struggling.
5. You want to rule out a learning disability or uncover why your child is struggling in school.
6. Medication is not working and you are concerned that doctors are “missing something”.
7. You are curious if your child has an underlying disability or area of difficulty that has not been identified.
8. You are looking for an official diagnosis.
9. You would like to know how your child learns best.
10. You would like to rule out any areas of concern that may run in your family.

Psychological testing is able to assess many areas, some of which include:
*IQ testing/Cognitive delays
*Processing speed
*Short and long term memory
*Word Retrieval
*Personality features and types
*Learning styles/learning disabilities
*Mental health

In addition to psychological testing, the ADOS test is also a formal evaluation that can be given to people of all ages to diagnosis Autism. This very comprehensive test is considered the gold standard for diagnosing Autism and uses different modules to determine if a person is on the spectrum.

After testing, of any type, is completed, you should be provided a very detailed report with graphs and charts to show testing results as well as a detailed summary of what the testing reveals. A good psychological report should include:
*Background information
*Testing procedures and results
*Detailed summary
*Detailed recommendations

Written by Erica DuPont, LCSW

www.protherapyplus.com
www.seemyiep.com

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