Intellectual Disabilities: Why Do I Do What I Do?
I am sometimes asked the question why I have elected to specialize in assessing children and adults for Autism and Intellectual Disabilities. That is a question worth answering. Often people think it is because I have a family member or a close relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or an Intellectual Disability. That is not the case. To my knowledge, no one in my family has ever been diagnosed with either of these conditions. Do I know people who have been touched by these diagnoses? Absolutely. But, I’d have to say that is not really the reason that I have pursued this line of work.
I decided to start providing these services in Lancaster County because I became aware that there is a significant need. No, I did not do so for financial gain, but rather to provide what I think is a valuable service. I became aware that many parents with children who may be on the Autism Spectrum were being told that they would need to wait for months, maybe even a year or more, to get an appointment to obtain a diagnosis. To me, this simply was not acceptable. Autism Spectrum Disorders are developmental disorders, meaning that they impact the child as he or she goes through developmental stages, such as learning to talk, learning to play, learning to socialize. If these skills are not capitalized on when the developmental period naturally surfaces, great opportunities are lost. It is my firm opinion that any child suspected of an Autism Spectrum Disorder should not be waiting for an appointment. Rather, they should be seen as quickly as possible so that if they do have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, services can be started as quickly as possible so that the developmental delays can be impacted with the greatest force possible. So, I started to specialize in this area in order to provide an alternative to waiting to those in need of a diagnosis.
As for those with Intellectual Disabilities, there are many services available to these persons once they have the diagnosis. I also wanted to see these individuals obtain an accurate diagnosis, written in the manner necessary, to assure that they would be able to attain services to which they are entitled.
My final reason is that I love to test and assess. I’ve never been a psychologist who enjoys providing therapy – just not my cup of tea. I have more of an assessment mind. I also like to make sure that the diagnoses assigned to people are accurate and that they are used to allow the person to get the services they need. It was a new challenge to gain expertise in Autism Testing as well as in neuropsychological testing for children, and a challenge I have enjoyed.
I am hopeful that more and more people become aware of the services provided at New Day and become aware that there is an alterative to waiting for an appointment and a diagnosis.