Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Autism and other things.

I'm almost in my 5th month as a school psychologist intern and I'm learning a lot. I've tested kids from ages 2 to 12 and I've had the chance to deal with some interesting behaviors.

One of the hardest parts of the job is talking to parents, especially when you don't have good news for them. When parents get bad news from me, it usually means their kids will receive special education services (which can be a good thing), so there are usually a lot of mixed feelings. The bad news I'm referring to is telling a parent that their child is demonstrating some autistic-like behaviors, has a learning disability, or maybe that their child will always struggle due to a low intellectual ability.

Now on autism, although I can't give a diagnosis, I'm sure the last thing a parent wants to hear is that I think their child is autistic-like. I've also had to tell parents that their child's intelligence level is below average or lower. No one wants to be the person to tell a parent that all their hopes and dreams for the child may be gone.

I've been in several meetings where the mother started crying and you have to sit there and be compassionate, without become emotional yourself. A part of you wants to tell them that it will all get better and that the problems will go away eventually, but that's not usually true. Autism, learning disabilities, and low intelligence are life long struggles the child will deal with. There is good news though!  There is a lot of help out there and these kids can be successful with the right support and interventions. That bad news is that it's going to be hard for them and their families.

Just wanted to share some of the hard things I've had to face in my internship. I feel the more experience I get, the more confident and competent I'm becoming with dealing with all the possible situations that could occur.

Thanks for listening.


  1. My sisters teach 2nd and 3rd grade and they're always telling me stories about stuff similar to this. My nephew is in 4th grade and he had a seizure at school at random and now he has some problem where he has them a lot and he was always in gifted but because of the seizures, now his school classifies him as "special ed" and he hates it. He's so embarrassed and he think he's retarded(his words). I can't imagine how hard it would be to have to work with kids at that stage in their life. Good luck with the struggles you'll face! You can do it!

  2. i worked for a charity for ten years giving support to families of people with disabilities and i looked after quite a few Autistic children. Man it's tough. I would go in for 3 hours at a time and either take the child out or stay in so mum and dad could go out. 3 hrs was enough for me at any one time.
    Unfortunately over here there are parents who look for a diagnosis of Autism for their hyperactive or just a bit naughty that they can claim benefits, it's unbelievable but true. It's like they wish for the child to be somewhere in the Autistic spectrum as then they will get the higher level of disability allowance and of course that opens up all kinds of other doors. Makes me sick tbh, as they are labeling their own child which will be on his medical record for life.

  3. In Texas I don't think you are allowed to "diagnose" to parents because of this. You can mention very specific behaviors the child does, but the parents can actually sue the schools if you try to put a name on it.
    But I can definitely see both sides. Every parent thinks of their child as their baby and they don't want anything "bad" to happen to them or to be labeled "special needs" It's really got to be a tough job!

  4. oh Breeanna, this is pretty heavy and so very touching to read. i tried to imagine myself in both yours and the parents shoes and really there's no easy spot to be grounded in. not even sure what to write just because i can't really relate to this experience. i can't imagine the moments you spend with parents to discuss their children's circumstance but i think if anyone was to tell them such news it's a good thing it's coming from someone as kind hearted as you. ♥


I love hearing what you have to say! Thanks for taking the time to share!