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Do our kids need an exact diagnosis?

Home Forums Community Discussions Do our kids need an exact diagnosis?

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  • #25547

    Hi, I wanted to ask other parents how important it’s been for them to have an exact diagnosis of their child’s behavioral challenges. One of my children had years of mental health episodes, and it seemed like every psychiatrist, physician and school professional offered up a new diagnosis. At 18, a full diagnostic evaluation concluded that she had three possible diagnoses. Two of them had never been mentioned by any of the professionals who’d tried to help her! No diagnosis has seemed to stick. Thankfully, therapy and medication have brought great stability. What has your child experienced?


    My child recently went to the doctor. The visit summary stated that he has “Active Autistic Disorder” and that they recommended a follow up visit in 6 months for an Autism Check up”. This made me LOL and it also made me really sad. I let the doc know that my son has been Autistic every day of his life and that if it were to become inactive he would be dead because it is his neurotype. When he was younger, and struggling to survive behavioral modification interventions (that his mom didn’t understand were just making things worse) he was labeled with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Disruptive Behavioral Disorder, and a mood disorder. All these labels did was describe his externalized behavior and lead to more judgement. I would love to see a move away from slapping labels on struggling children, and towards looking underneath the tip of the iceburg at each child’s individual sensory, emotional, cognitive, and learning style, so that we can start supporting them in meaningful ways.


    My thoughts on diagnosis are mixed. The diagnosis mattered in getting the ehlp my children needed, like a comprehensive IEP or for teachers and supports to actually provide care they needed. On the otherhand, the stigma associated with diagnosis is real. That goes for internal and external beliefs. My daughter was given a diagnosis of chronic depression when she first went to her first psychologist in 3rd grade. That diagnosis stuck with her regardless of changes in puberty, age, etc. She can’t advocate for it to go away. It does not define her and as a young adult, I have seen her manage her health needs so well. My son has been given some lower level diagnosis and some very acute ones, like ” personality disorder”, ‘bi-polar”, and ADHD. All stated as potential. His behavior has always been extreme and he has been in residential for so long off and on. yet, to this day he only has a diagnosis of ADHD. I don’t think he even cares at this point of the diagnosis, he just wants care and services that don’t traumatize him or add to the symptoms. He has shared that he just wants to be teated like a normal human and not de-humanized. It’s interesting what a label implies.

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