Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Diagnosis: disclose or not?

CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,225 Senior Member
I am hoping to get input on whether or not to disclose a diagnosis to the high school. Possible benefits, possible negatives and how this should be treated (if at all) when applying to college.

Replies to: Diagnosis: disclose or not?

  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    edited December 2017
    --If you want accommodations in HS it must be disclosed.

    --It should not impact college admissions as HS can only disclose a diagnosis with your permission (at least in our state). Some people chose to disclose it, others don't.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,904 Senior Member
    It was positive in all ways for my kid. She got the accommodations she needed. In turn that helped with standardized testing accommodations, and accommodations in college. Your HS is not supposed to disclose to colleges unless you allow them to.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,225 Senior Member
    @happy1 we are not looking for accommodations. There are really no accommodations for this anyway.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 22,641 Forum Champion
    Then it is your choice. I don't think there is a downside, but it is more of a matter of if your child wants to keep it private or not.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,904 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    A positive would be that if your kid has grade issues, the GC might be willing to put a note in about something in their college recommendation when needed. But if it does affect your kid academically, then I'd consider following up on the accommodations if there is something that could help. Since you are posting in the learning disability forum, there are many types of accommodations that can be helpful.

    Edited: I went back and read your past posts, and remembered that your kid presented very much like my D. She did get extra time and a quiet place for on tests, extra scratch paper during exams, some extra support from teachers on organization, specific classroom seating that helped her, and the ability to use a laptop for notes all the time. It helped her -- her grades went up pretty much a full letter grade in most subjects once she got the accommodations, and it also helped her in college. She is in grad school now.
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 1,082 Senior Member
    If you are not planning to request accommodations in high school and you are not diagnosed with a life threatening condition then I would not disclose. Further, do not disclose as part of college admission.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,225 Senior Member
    I was curious to hear feedback from parents on your teens with social issues and/or Asperigers/ASD: do you find your kids to be particularly fragile emotionally? Prone to giving up on things--i.e throwing up hands --very quickly. Whining, complaining like that of a younger person?
  • Momto2SsMomto2Ss Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    edited December 2017
    IMHO: I think you must disclose. First, I believe it would send the wrong message to your kid to ask him/her to "hide" his/her diagnosis vis a vis his/her teachers. Having ADHD is fairly common as is LD. And it is not a moral issue or a "flaw". Just part of our great diversity as humans. Also the school could feel blindsided and the school *could* (would have legal grounds to do so) expel your child if you fail to disclose if they ask relevant probing questions on the app - which I think many schools do ask. Lastly - why send your kid to a school that doesn't embrace and appreciate and understand the ADHD and LD kids can be very smart, very well adjusted, and great members of the school community. When your kid gets to the school, I think ADHD would be very hard to hide completely even if you kid is on meds. You want allies, ADHD savvy & understanding school teachers and administrators. You didn't reveal the specific LD but seems that might also not go unnoticed. Lastly: I agree with another poster: there is HIPPA - schools can't affirmatively disclose to colleges. Reasonable minds can differ but now you have my 2 cents. Best of luck!

    PS I am only talking about secondary schools - your child doesn't have to go through life with a banner and over-disclose - or always disclose e.g. when he/she is applying for jobs. Every situation is fact specific. But for high school he/she deserves compassion and support.
  • mairlodimairlodi Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    edited December 2017
    I don’t know that I have much to add, but I find this topic very interesting, so I thought I’d join in.

    I think one reason to disclose, even if not asking for accommodations, is that it may allow the teachers and staff to understand where your child is coming from and understand your child better, which can help in better educating your child.

    I have a child who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in early elementary school. My child definitely has some social challenges, and I agree with the diagnosis. However, my child does not present in a way that looks typical for Asperger’s. In fact, I have heard very often from teachers, especially in elementary school, that the diagnosis must be incorrect because my child was not like other children they knew with an Asperger’s diagnosis. I am certain they felt that my child’s challenges were all a result of my parenting - until my younger child entered the same school several years later, with none of the same issues as my older child. I actually had multiple teachers and staff tell me that they couldn’t believe that my younger child was also mine.

    In my child’s situation, I don’t think teachers or staff would guess the diagnosis without my disclosing, and might incorrectly attribute some of my child’s challenges to other things. For example, this fall, my child had to write an essay from the perspective of a character in a novel. This assignment was incredibly difficult for my child, who has difficulty with perspective taking, especially complex perspectives. Had the teacher not known about this challenge, she might have assumed my child had poor reading skills or writing skills, or didn’t spend enough time or effort on the assignment. But because she knew about this challenge, the teacher knew how to help when my child went to the teacher to ask for feedback on the first draft.

    That being said, I find that for many teachers and staff, a diagnosis in itself is not helpful. When I disclose, I try to focus more on my child’s specific challenges and talk about how the teachers may see those challenges present in the classroom, and how I feel they can best help my child address those challenges. Some understand better than others, and it makes more of a difference for some than others. Neuropsych testing is often helpful, but these reports are typically very long, so I try to summarize key points from the evaluation when I disclose.

    Possible negatives are definitely that some teachers may not believe the diagnosis or agree with the diagnosis and feel it is an excuse. Unfortunately, we have experienced that as well, although fortunately, it’s been a few years since that’s been the case.

    @Center: As to your question about emotional fragility: I find that for my child, a lot of things that might really bother other children emotionally don’t bother my child too much. But other things that are not a big deal for most kids might be a huge deal for my kid. I wouldn’t describe my child as emotionally fragile, but emotional in a way unlike most other teens. My child can be very hard working on things of interest, more so than most other kids. But my child has has less desire to do things that are not of interest, and certainly does not have the desire to spend a lot of time or effort on something that is perceived to be “stupid” or “boring.” My child frequently will declare something to be good enough and then stop working on it.

    ETA: not completely related, but what do you do about disclosure and self-advocacy when your child does not believe the diagnosis and does not believe they have challenges? I find that as my child gets older, teachers expect much more in terms of self-advocacy, but this is impossible for a child who lacks insight into their challenges, and this makes the child completely unable to self-advocate.
  • GloriaVaughnGloriaVaughn Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    If your child is on meds, then you need to disclose for safety reasons. If you want any sort of accommodation, including regarding housing, it's worth it to do the IEP. Other posters are correct that your child's HS cannot disclose to any colleges without your permission. It will be difficult if not impossible to qualify for services without an IEP/504. Personally, I didn't disclose until after I had my acceptance and picked my school. I rarely needed academic accommodation, but I needed to disclose to be in the only ADA dorm. For your child, you may prefer a smaller dorm or single-gender floor or with extended quiet hours. Depending on options, you may want a double instead of triple, or have preferences regarding traditional or suite-style living. Also, if you go for the IEP now, your child is entitled to a transition plan, which you can take to whatever school's disability office for them to help your child if necessary. As far as consequences, most of my professors didn't care and it didn't affect how I was treated at all, but I did have one basically write me off as soon as he got the letter from disability services. It's hit or miss there.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 2,225 Senior Member
    @mairlodi I really appreciate your reply. In fact I have re-read your post several times because you have so well verbalized many of the issues. Actually emotionally fragile was the wrong phrase. Extrmely stoic--almost numb sometimes. The fragility comes with challenges or expectations to do things that are overwhelming or highly frustrating I guess. Many of your phrases are so close to home: its good enough-not worth my time for a few more points etc.
  • mairlodimairlodi Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    @Center It sounds like our children have a lot in common. I would say all the same things you wrote about my child as well - low frustration tolerance, often emotionally stoic (things that would emotionally bother other kids are often not a big deal for my kid).

    Do you mind if I ask how your child accepts his/her diagnosis? My child has rejected the diagnosis and not just the diagnosis, but the overall idea of having any challenges.

    My child has had some difficult social challenges, mainly with adults, in the past, but has not had many in recent years. Since my child’s challenges are generally not academic (except when it comes to perspective taking in some English assignments), the challenges haven’t really necessarily affected school, which sounds like it is the case for your child as well, since your child does not receive any accommodations.

    My child also does not receive accommodations at school, and so far, has been able to be very successful academically, despite executive functioning challenges as well. Although my child loses or misplaced books and other personal items fairly frequently, this has not affected my child’s ability to do or turn in assignments, or to do well on tests. I worry that as the demands increase as my child gets older, at some point my child may not be able to do as well academically with weak executive functioning, and wonder what will happen if my child refuses to self-advocate or even accept that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,904 Senior Member
    Just a positive note on disclosing - my kid disclosed in HS (had diagnosis since 2nd grade, but firmed up with more testing in 9th grade and updated recommendations). Her need for a quiet space and more time served her very well in HS. She requested the same accommodations in college and received them. She started grad school this fall and wrestled with asking for them -- but decided she needed to own asking for them because it makes a big difference in her ability to show what she knows on exams. She did well her first semester, and just took her first quals exam using them as well. So far so good. I'm pretty proud of her ability to advocate for herself now.
  • grandschemegrandscheme Registered User Posts: 692 Member
    I don't know that you have to disclose at the point of application. I would imagine it becomes more relevant at the point of matriculation, though it is still possible it is not required and is only necessary if you hope for accommodations.

    We wondered if disclosing could qualify a student to fill a handicapped category and possibly help gain admission. It's possible to see it could help and it's possible to see it could hurt. We opted not to disclose until matriculation and at that point, worked with his school to arrange accommodations which mirrored his high school accommodations.
Sign In or Register to comment.