I often think of diagnoses as alphabet soup. A learner is like a spoonful of ASD, ADHD, NVD, DD, or ABC and 123. These diagnoses are critical for understanding pathogenesis and prognosis for a learner. With many diagnoses, medications and dietary interventions can dramatically improve daily life for individuals. It is particularly important to understand any co-occuring neurological disorders such as seizure disorders or metabolic disorders such as mitochondrial disorder as these can have dramatic and lasting health implications.

Of course each of the spoonfuls of alphabet soup can be an example of whatever disorder is identified, or it could just be a set of letters. The letters ASD or ADHD might give you a starting point, but it is so critical to keep the individual that comes before the title "with XYZ" in mind when it comes to treatment and intervention. Good professionals always recognize that the person is more than the sum of their alphabet soup. They are a brother or sister, son or daughter, student, worker, friend, or maybe movie buff, reader, swimmer, chef, or pet lover. There are no acronyms for these descriptions of a person but wouldn't you want to be equally identified by any one of the aspects of you?

It can be easy to focus on "this is what a person with __ does". My hope is that professionals can guide families and teachers to change the sentence to be more like "this is what so and so does". Let's help her to be the best __ she can be. Or, let's support him to be the most independent version of himself that he can be. Alphabet soup might be delicious to eat but to focus on it when it comes to people ends up leaving a sour taste in my mouth and hungering for more meat on the individual bone.

...continue to Alphabet Soup - part 2