How necessary is an accurate diagnosis?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by red, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. red

    red New Member

    My difficult child is 13 going on 14. He is in 8th grade now going into high school next year. He has been separated for all state tests since 4th grade and we are worried about the SAT because he has no diagnosis or, you could say, he has a grab bag of diagnoses that kind of fit. His academics are decent and he scores well on standardized tests, so the school has gone unofficially with AS, even though we don't agree. Since the suicide attempt last June, we sort of have Depression/Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, with a prescription of Abilify. But that doesn't really describe him accurately. Then I read about Multiplex Developmental Disorder and I thought, if you talk about a really mild case, that DOES describe him. Is it worth the hassle to get it exactly right, or is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and Depression close enough to get the job done? He has his IEP and the school is accommodating him well and they never call me. Maybe this is a dumb question, but it bothers me sometimes that the terminology they use to describe him is so inexact and subject to misunderstanding by people who don't know what the terms mean.
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Personally, it does bother me if my kids don't have an accurate diagnosis on file, but I believe others here don't feel the same way as long as the symptoms are being treated appropriately.

    What matters most for both the school and the SAT is that the accommodations and services are meeting your difficult child's needs. The College Board, which administers the SAT, will want to see a paper trail of these accommodations in order to grant the same accommodations when it is time for your difficult child to take the SAT. In truth, it doesn't matter what the diagnosis is for the purposes of the SAT.

    Welcome! I hope you find a lot of support here.
  3. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi Red and welcome.

    It's a tough question you pose. On one hand, your son is getting the services he needs from school and is doing well - that's the ideal some here never achieve. On the other hand, having an accurate diagnosis can lead to correct medications and interventions, although in this case, the medications and interventions are working.

    I don't know, the issue would be going to high school next year and making sure he has the services there he needs. Would an accuate diagnosis help get those services? You definately want to start out a new school year right. You (and the team) will write an IEP this year that will follow him to high school. What you will need to decide is whether an accurate diagnosis will in way improve those services. Understanding on the part of school officials is a good thing, but a quality IEP that includes all the services he needs to be successful is a better thing.

    Welcome to the board!

  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Welcome!! Ideally, I think it's best to have the correct diagnosis but that won't always happen. As the others have said, the first priority is that whatever treatment he's getting (including medications) is working and that things are working well at school and he's learning. I would want to know the correct diagnosis and think it's important in the long term because you never know who might try to "treat" it a different way, but since we don't live in an ideal world, I'd be a little afraid to monkey around with something that is working.

    Personally, it appears that certain diagnosis's are "trendy" anyway. ADHD, the BiPolar (BP), now Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), so I'm not so sure it means as much to others as it does the parents.
  5. red

    red New Member

    Thanks for the prompt response! I kinda figured that, since the school guidance counselors understand that he simply will not write a single word or answer a single question without extra time and a keyboard, he will have to be accommodated, but it is good to know that the diagnosis is irrelevant. Sometimes I feel that the DSM is such a work in progress and these labels are so malleable, I could pull out all my hair trying to figure out the perfect label for him and it still would not be quite right. A psychologist will say, where's the diagnosis? And I say, we just don't really have a good one. And then they slap a label on him as if that says it all, when it never does quite fit. But now I can at least rest easy that I don't have to keep looking as long as the medications are right and the school is doing the right thing. Thanks again!