The benefit of labels for children with special needs

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The benefit of labels for children with special needs

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Many parents are hesitant to seek out a diagnosis for their child because they don't want their child to have a label. The truth is that having a label can actually be quite a relief for the family. For the parents, they can know that their child isn't giving them a hard time or being obstinate or difficult. There is actually a reason that a child is lacking in certain skills and abilities. That can make the parent empowered. It is also good to know that they can get help and there's a way for improvement. For the child, having the label can be very important and powerful. Many children say to themselves, "Gosh, I'm just no good. I'm dumb. I can't do anything." So having a label like Autism, Aspergers, ADHD, or Dyslexia really helps to separate between, "I am bad," to "I have an area where I have difficulty." That can be important for their self-esteem and their self-concept.

View Allison Kawa, PsyD's video on The benefit of labels for children with special needs...

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Allison Kawa, PsyD

Child Psychologist

Alison Kawa is a licensed child psychologist specializing in the evaluation of children and adolescents.  Her pre- and post-doctoral training emphasized child and adolescent testing.  She was a fellow in the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic where she acquired extensive training in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and a range of other developmental disorders.  During this time, she also obtained certification from the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center (UMACC) on the gold standard instruments (i.e., ADI-R and ADOS) used in autism evaluations.  Following her fellowship, she became Senior Assessor at UCLA where she worked for four years.

Alison completed the PsychoEducational Diagnostic Services Program (PEDS) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Pediatric Assessment at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar.  In this setting, she conducted comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for children and adolescents with a diverse range of issues including ADHD, Learning Disabilities, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.  She also completed the Child Therapy in a School Setting program offered by Phillips Graduate Institute, where she gained training and experience in play therapy, social skills groups, and therapeutic interventions appropriate for adolescents. 

While completing her graduate training in psychology, she held a staff position at Working With Autism, Inc., where she worked individually with children with autism, provided case management and supervision, and developed and implemented a staff-training curriculum.  It was through this position that she acquired a love for teaching and training. In addition to her private practice, she teaches pre- and post-doctoral fellows at the Reiss Davis Child Study Center at Vista Del Mar, where she also works as a supervisor and consultant.

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