Editorial #243: Are schools your friend?
Autism Politico would like its readers to carefully the implications of schools diagnosing children with any disorder.
If a child has a disorder, a child may be entitled to additional funding to meet the educational needs of this special needs child. Autism Politico agrees that all children are entitled to an education and that all special needs students are entitled to whatever funding they may be entitled to under the law.
But Autism Politico also questions whether or not schools are qualified to make a diagnosis of any kind. They are not medical professionals. As far as autism goes, there are, under the DSM IV, different kinds of autism, and a medical diagnosis can take years, rather than hours or days to reach and accurate diagnose.
If a school can identify a child with special needs, then they must develop an IEP for that child within a specific time period, and they may apply for certain kinds of funding, depending on where these schools are situated. The amount of funding they are entitled to is also dependent on what the laws are in their locality.
In a time when cuts in funding are made to education, it seems that schools have additional motivation to secure funding wherever they can, and so the question arises as to whether or not children who are quickly diagnosed are properly diagnosed, or whether or not a diagnosis even exists.
While we as taxpayers can rest easy when we know our tax dollars are used for good purposes, when we see the number of autism diagnosis climb dramatically over a period of years, and when we see most of these diagnoses being made by schools rather than qualified medical professionals, can we continue to rest easily?
Could it be that schools are diagnosing special needs children so that they can make up for cuts in funding to regular education elsewhere?
A diagnosis follows someone the rest of their life the same way a conviction for a crime follows them for the rest of their lives.
Isn’t a false diagnosis under these circumstances the equivalent of exploitation of children for monetary gain? In which case, are schools our friends?
Keep in mind that when a child is diagnosed falsely, the parent of that child may believe the diagnosis and subject that child to all manner of legitimate and quack cures, causing themselves considerable expense, and causing their own child considerable trauma. All so that schools can make money.
Is this what we want from out schools?
Replies to this editorial are welcome.