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Hiding a Child’s Condition to Avoid Bullying

Parents may try to hide a child’s condition or learning disability from teachers as a method to avoid potential bullying from classmates. The idea that their child may be treated differently throughout school because of potential attention from school administrators is a very real fear for many parents with a child dealing with autism, ADHD, or a number of other learning disabilities.

Some friends of ours at North Shore Pediatric Therapy sent me an article to post on OCM. This article is a sobering reminder for parents. No matter the condition, hiding a child’s condition to avoid bullying or masking a condition from teachers can lengthen a diagnosis to treat or improve a condition such as ADD, Dyslexia, ASD or any other condition where symptoms can hidden.

Here is the text of the article submitted to OCM by North Shore Pediatric Therapy:

While disorders such as ADD and dyslexia are fairly well known, several parents want to avoid classifying their kids as “different.” Certain disabilities are associated with negative stigmas and some parents want to prevent their children from facing bullying from other students and even biases from teachers.

For parents who notice their children may be exhibiting atypical symptoms, they should take a proactive role in their child’s development rather than hoping the child grows out of a difficult stage.  The earlier a treatment is started, the more successful the prognosis will be down the road. An appropriate diagnosis will not only help answer the “why” questions a parent may have (such as “Why does my child continue to struggle to read?”) but also pin-point the root cause for a child’s symptoms.

Dr. Peter Dodzik, a neuropsychologist at North Shore Pediatric Therapy, suggests these children receive evaluations so that an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan is developed. “Many times children are misdiagnosed with a disorder because only a checklist of the symptoms present are noted,” says Dr. Dodzik, “However clinical judgment is very important because how these symptoms impact function needs to be taken into consideration.”

The goal is to create an effective means of intervention for the appropriate diagnosis. For example if a child is diagnosed with dyslexia, a multi-sensory approach such as the Orton-Gillingham reading program may be more beneficial for the child than traditional teaching methods. In fact, parents can better advocate for their children by informing the teachers and administration of the disorder so they can handle issues accordingly. The diagnosis will also help identify future hurdles for the child by serving as a framework for expectations of later development.

North Shore Pediatric Therapy is a company devoted to helping children develop and overcome obstacles so they may reach their full potential. The practice operates on three key values:  educate, advocate and communicate. Motivated by their love and respect for children, the team of neuropsychologists, occupational, physical, speech and developmental therapists are committed to bringing happiness into the lives of children and their families. North Shore Pediatric Therapy has been assisting families for over 12 years and has expanded to include 3 locations. For more information, please visit their website.

(originally posted in 2011)

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