Old teacher called today


New Member
My oldest difficult children teacher from last year called today. We had a bunch of problems with new administration this year and a bunch of faculty left and we transferred our kids to a new school. He was one to leave. I have always loved this guy, he taught my oldest easy child too. He is very involved with the kids, goes to their games outside of school when invited, gives them hugs every day as they leave. He has always seemed so great.

Well he called today to wish all the boys a great new school year this year and I filled him in on the new diagnosis for my oldest difficult child. His reply was, ya, I kinda thought he was showing signs of that. WHAT?!?!? Why didn't he say something? I considered us close, even friends. We communicated via personal email often. He is about 60-65 yrs old, his wife has cancer and his youngest is a senior this year. We talk about all kinds of stuff and when administration went south he would share his feelings about things without crossing any lines with his job. But when it comes to my son he didn't tell me he saw aspergers?

Before I came to this forum all I knew of aspergers was what I'd seen on Boston Legal. If he knew my son and seemed to want to help him, why wouldn't he tell me his thoughts?

I wish there were a way to get this into teachers heads. I wonder if there are doctors who would come speak to teachers at a school? I'm just amazed at how little they know and if our PE coaches, Art Teacher, Music Teacher, Librarian and classroom teachers all met up with our Special Education teachers, I think more kids would be diagnosed properly and earlier. Why wouldn't they want to diagnose them and get them the help they need? Especially the regular classroom teachers who are dealing with all the behavioral problems. Their day would be so much better if they just knew the best way to deal with different diagnosis.

I'm just so flusterd, I don't know, upset, confused, frustrated.


New Member
He may not have able to tell you. I volunteered at the local elementary school for 2 third grade classes. There was one little girl who seemed to be on the spectrum. I talked to the teacher about her. The teacher agreed but said she was not allowed to say anything unless the parent specifically asked. This was a State law, not just a school district rule. So, her hands were tied. Since I volunteered, mine weren't and I did talk to the mother. The girl is now getting some interventions in the fifth grade and the mother looks a little less tense.


Former desparate mom
Allstressedout, who can diagnose is strictly limited. There is a reason for it. Autistic spectrum disorders is a neurobiological diagnosis that exhibits itself in some learning disabilities and some behaviors. Teachers background is teaching and not medicine. They overlap but it's not a teachers perogative to diagnose your child.
However, he could have asked you if you had read such and such an article or sent you in the right direction.

I'm pretty particular about who gives my kid a diagnosis. It is all such subjective symptoms that differ from each child in severity that it would be easy for anyone to misdiagnose.
Your teachers are a great resource for Learning Disability (LD)'s, behavior modifications, observations and feedback.


Active Member
I do feel a teacher should be free to say something like, "I'm concerned for your child, I'm wondering if you've ever had him assessed fro X."

I do know that with difficult child 3, his teachers were VERY free in sharing with me their own concerns and recommendations for this or that. They were clear that they could not diagnoses, but they did ask me to consider having it checked out.

When difficult child 3 was in Year 5 and diagnosed initially with anxiety, his teacher insisted the problem was physical and was angry with doctors who wouldn't consider such a possibility. So for six months we searched and talked to doctors until finally one said, "We've ruled out every possible physical cause. NOW will you accept that anxiety can be this bad?" Mind you, that teacher was a major factor in difficult child 3's anxiety and would never accept that she was handling him the wrong way. her way of dealing with 'professionals' who came into HER classroom and told her what to do, was to ban all future professionals. While parents could go over her head to the District Office, most were afraid to because they didn't want their child victimised as a result of their insistence.

We did have a situation where a child was refused support funding, going from primary school to high school. He had an IEP in primary but it was refused for high school. The primary school could sympathise but were not permitted to do anything more. They were not even permitted to advise the mother that she could appeal the decision, and she was the kind of person thoroughly browbeaten by the system. So one of the teachers came to me, OFF the record, and asked me to talk to her and support her through an appeal.
I helped this mother draft her appeal letter, kept reassuring her that it was OK for her to do this and the end result - his funding was continued.

The education funding department had tried to bluff where they could, to cut their overall district expenditure where they could get away with it. I had long suspected that the only reason we had as much funding as we did for difficult child 3 was because I was perceived as too likely to make trouble if they didn't. Meanwhile difficult child 3's friend, also autistic, has no support funding in mainstream. The speech pathologist was forbidden to observe him in the classroom, even by prior arrangement. So was the psychologist - only the school counsellor was allowed in. The parents may help in some areas with the permission of the teacher, but nobody can just drop in. If you're scheduled to support the reading class at 9.30 am, you must wait out of sight and out of earshot until 9.30 am, and then leave as soon as the teacher dismisses you.

But the other big thing - a lot of teachers don't realise while they're actually teaching the child, it often comes later, as they see other children, read a bit more, see a bit more and think back. "I wonder..." That's maybe what it was with your child's old teacher.

difficult child 3 was still in pre-school when we were considering autism. In fact, it was a pre-school teacher who said, "What do you know about Asperger's Syndrome?"
I didn't know how to spell it but even with incorrect spelling I found enough info online to begin to wonder myself. From there I got a referral to the pediatrician (that's who diagnoses it, down under) and we were told, "It's more than just Asperger's."

So for us, teachers have helped guide us to a professional diagnosis, still within their professional parameters.



difficult child and myself have been very close to a counselor from elementary school. We spoke often as difficult child spent many hours in her office. She did suggest to have him see a doctor, or to have him tested for any issues, never suggested any specific area. Was not allowed to specify. I do not believe she could even suggest it. That could cause problems is parents took it the wrong way. She is not a doctor and believe she could not suggest something even if she thought it were true.


New Member
I understand your aggravation and frustration. Two weeks before school was out last year, school counselor called me repeatedly the same week about my difficult child's behavior. She recommended difficult child be sent to a behavioral crisis home for 10 days, she even called and had it set up. He goes for the 10 days, comes home, within 2 days, back to his old self again. So... school starts this year. difficult child starts right back into the same pattern. Last Wednesday, I called her. Now she has decided that his troubles are because he doesnt get enough attention. She actually tells me on the phone..."The reason hes like this is because YOU dont pay enough attention to him. Whether its bad attention or good attention." OMG this went thru me like wild fire. Needless to say, we haven't spoken since then. What she said is so untrue. All my attention is focused towards him. He cannot be trusted to go to the bathroom by hisself. I try my hardest with him, but I feel I am out of answers, I'm confused, and tired. He just wears me out. I thought the school was suppose to be there for the student of course but, also to try to help parents as well.


Well-Known Member
My friend is a Special Education Aide and told me that nobody at school can diagnose. They can suggest testing, but not diagnose. Of course, WE had teachers diagnose Lucas--usually ADHD, but you're not supposed to do it (they were wrong, by the way).


New Member
I understand why he couldn't make a "diagnosis " but I to believe there is ways around that. Especially if you have a personal relationship he could have simply asked if he'd ever been tested for that. He could have offered to write a letter to the P-doctor offering his thoughts. It's my experience that parents of difficult child's feel they are the first to do the research and try to find a diagnosis. I wish the medical professionals spent more time making a good thorough diagnosis but that's not always the case. The parents and teachers that spend significant amounts of time need to contribute their thoughts to the medical professionals so as they can have an idea of what to look for in their appointments.

My difficult child was finally diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) when his private school teacher came out and said after working with him for only a week that he must have this. I had no idea, I thought people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) washed their hands a gazillion times and that was kind of it. I was very skeptical but I looked into it on my own it was like OMG this is totally him. Sadly he had been getting in trouble for years for doing things he couldn't help, it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). husband and I felt terrible and have had to let things go because we now realize that he is not trying to make us crazy he is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). difficult child had a full evaluation two months before he started private school and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was never picked up on. We had a follow up visit and brought the teachers concerns to the Physce doctor, he did a mini evaluation with him and hells bells he truly does have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). If this teacher had not brought this to our attention we would never have figured it out on our own and poor difficult child would still be getting heck for his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) quirks.


New Member
Unfortunately school districts have been sued so often that many of them go to extremes.

Only certain professionals can diagnoses medical and pscyhological conditions. For too many years, teachers, educational assistants, counselors, were informally diagnosing in the hopes of getting a student help. Unfortunately, too many families have sued so now the flip side is true - most people in the educational system are too scared to suggest that there may even be a problem most of the time, let alone help direct a family towards possible help.

I work as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in school systems and I hesitate to even mention sensory problems at times unless it is specifically causing behavioral problems in the educational environment.

What I can do is address with parents specific behaviors that I have observed. I can't tell a parent to take their child to a pediatrician. If I do, the SD would be responsible for payment of the pediatrician's services. I can't recommend outside therapy services. If I do so, the SD would be responsible for payment of said services. If, after I communicate with a parent concerns regarding specific behaviors I have observed, the parent asks for further guidance, I am allowed to make statements such as "I can not recommend that you take <student's name> to a pediatrician or a neurologist or a psychologist, however if you chose to do so it may be beneficial for him/her."


The system :censored2: from both sides of the table.


New Member
I definately didn't expect a diagnosis from him, but he said on the phone "Ya, I had another kid with that and I saw those traits in difficult child." Why didn't he ever mention that to me before? He knows we saw a psychiatrist every month, he could have said it anytime. I certainly don't expect him as a teacher to diagnosis my son, but if he knew of something that fit my son better than SAD, I wish he had said something. Poor difficult child could have had this better handled last year instead of now, the Friday before school starts, beginning new medications.

On a positive note, difficult child got his schedule changed and has an amazing science teacher my oldest easy child had because of the new schedule. I think this guy will be great for difficult child. I also spoke with the new counselor via email YESTERDAY and she looked into his schedule TODAY. I can't believe she checked him out that quickly! I'm so impressed! So I'm having good hopes for his new year here and we are getting a CAT meeting? and a 504 set up with his new diagnosis.


Active Member
So sorry about that.......it sounds like he was both a friend and a teacher, but that he was unsure of his boundaries, and the role to play in this situation. Ugh......

I am glad that this new school seems so much more responsive than the old. What medications did the new doctor decide to put your difficult children on? I will be keeping my fingers crossed that the medications transition smoothly for your kids as they enter school next week.

Take care


Well-Known Member
Staff member
Unfortunately, too many families have sued so now the flip side is true - most people in the educational system are too scared to suggest that there may even be a problem most of the time, let alone help direct a family towards possible help.

That is so true! I can't even suggest that a parent look into getting a tutor for a child that is struggling in math because if I did then the school district would have to pay for it.