SpecialEdPost — Can a Disability Diagnosis Interfere with Parenting?

Recently, I was with my middle kid, whom I will call James, on a playdate. The other kid was receiving physical therapy and speech therapy because he wasn’t walking or talking at 15 months. He seemed otherwise normal to my untrained eye.

That surprised me a bit. For all I know, though, therapy really is shown to be helpful under those circumstances. This same mother has an older son who is the same age as my oldest son (I’ll call my oldest son Thomas). She said that she had an appointment with a psychiatrist for her oldest because she suspected an anxiety disorder.

She said that her kid will fixate on some idea or other and ask over and over about it. Like, will the house burn down? Will alligators eat him? He also is very nervous and new situations, and is very particular about his routines.

This sounds exactly like Thomas. But it never even occurred to me to think he had an anxiety disorder. I’ve always just thought he was a nervous, uptight, shy sort of kid. So her kid will presumably get at least some treatment and mine will not. For the same group of symptoms (if symptoms they really are). Maybe her kid will be helped out of his anxiety, and I am not taking the problem seriously enough. Maybe she is over-medicalizing her kid.

I honestly don’t know whether I’m right or this other mother is. Of course, she may well be, but of course I suspect I am. I worry that calling what used to be considered quirkiness  a “disorder” might be problematic in some ways.

What Next?

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