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KODEY TONEY: Looking for answers

July 17, 2013

I was honored to be interviewed this week by an educator taking a class about teaching children with disabilities. This was such a great opportunity for me because, as I’ve said before, it’s important for teachers to try and understand these children or inclusion doesn’t work. I’m glad to see teachers getting an education about integrating these pupils into their classroom.
However, not all professions who work with people with disabilities are educated as well. For instance, we were told, by a reliable source, in one of our Partners in Policymaking classes that most doctors are only given about 15 minutes (if that) during all of their training, instruction on recognizing autism and other developmental disabilities. That may be argued I’m sure, but I’m also sure that there is not enough training to help with early diagnosis, which in turn helps with early intervention.
The National Autism Network just announced Monday that “According to researchers, a training program designed to teach pediatricians to better identify kids with autism may be an effective way to decrease wait times and flag children with developmental disorder at younger ages.”
I have two things to say about that; Duh, and this is a great idea. Why shouldn’t pediatricians be taught what to look for in patients to help diagnose autism, or at least refer for a diagnosis?
I can remember when my wife asked our pediatrician about Konner, and she reluctantly referred us to a psychologist. I’m not sure she really believed it, but I do remember her telling us after he was diagnosed that she was sorry that he had autism. We changed doctors shortly after that.
As I’ve preached before, early intervention is the best way to help your child. The sooner you can get the diagnosis the sooner you can get the therapies to help the child through life.
The instruction in the study was a two-day training that helped them diagnose 90 percent of the cases correctly. Two days is not much, but it’s a start, and if it could help 90 percent of the population I think it should be mandatory. But, what do I know? As I’ve always said, I’m no expert.

Kodey Toney is a parent of a child with autism. E-mail him with questions or ideas at pervasiveparenting@hotmail.com. You also can find all columns archived at blogspot.com.

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