worried about possible diagnoses


New Member
I have been thinking.....and thinking.....and thinking. I think everyone opinion and advice has me second guessing me going forward with therapist and neuro psychiatric assesment. the Social Worker keeps telling me that the neuro pysch will find something, that there is something definately wrong with difficult child. That scared me in a few ways, the majority of my scaredness is, what if its not as obvious as the text book symptoms. Meaning, if they dont find an obvious "label" for difficult child, will they just pick one that sorta fits and toss me out the door with a script?

What are the chances I walk outta there with "he's fine, there is nothing wrong with him, you all just need some therapy to fix his "attitude". I feel like with all the talk of overdiagnosing ADHD and such that there is no way I will walk outta there without a "label" Do people ever get a "difficult child is fine, no known issues" diagnoses?


Well-Known Member
It does happen, but not often. You have to use your "mom gut." You already know something isn't right. Will you get the 100% correct answer the first time? Probably not. The first diagnosis is almost always ADHD or ADHD/ODD. It is rarely the last. Some people, like me, are in their 40's before they find out what is actually wrong. I had a very rough life, both as a child and as an adult until they got the medications right. I was given a bunch of diagnoses I knew weren't the whole picture, but I still tried to get help and treatment for the symptoms and it DID help.

"Text book" symptoms are rarely the only way a professional diagnosis somebody.

I would get her diagnosed and try to help her the best you can. Trust me, I got NO help as a child and THAT was a disaster. Not only did I have few friends (all the oddballs), get bullied, feel inferior, do much more poorly in school than I should have, and almost dropped out of high school...I also started thinking of suicide early and often.

I'm not trying to scare you (or anybody), but I would put your own worries aside and get her as much help as you can. She is not happy or she would not act like she does. The behavior, regardless of why, comes from frustration, a low tolerance level, and anger (mostly at herself).

She will be the same child after she is diagnosed as she was beforehand. And she just may get to live a normal childhood with good self-esteem if she is better understood.

I hope this was clear. I am kind of in a hurry :)

Take care and hugs!


New Member
the majority of my scaredness is, what if its not as obvious as the text book symptoms. Meaning, if they dont find an obvious "label" for difficult child, will they just pick one that sorta fits and toss me out the door with a script?
My DD1 is not text book either. She does have anxiety which is pretty much textbook, but she also has other mood issues completely unrelated to anxiety. They are diagnosis'ed as Mood Disorder not otherwise specified (Not Otherwise Specified aka not textbook) It means that YES this child has symptoms. She has difficulties, but they don't 'fit' any specific diagnosis. This was only the beginning of her getting a scrip. Next came figuring out which scrip will work best for her. They don't just toss you out the door, they have to monitor that scrip to see if it's right for your child.

Do people ever get a "difficult child is fine, no known issues" diagnoses?
Yes, but that usually comes from the pediatrician. You're already past that stage. You are in the psychiatric world where they look at behavior and emotions more closely. You might feel better if you researched on the internet some possible diagnosis's. ADD/ADHD, ODD (not really a diagnosis, but something to go on), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Bipolar, Mood disorders. This way your 'mom gut' will have real information and at least some idea of where a diagnosis might lean towards. The pros might tell you something completely different - listen, research and observe - they might be right, and being so close to your son, can skew your perceptions. This happens even to the best of us.

You are on the right path. Don't let the "what ifs" keep you form seeking the help you and your child need.


New Member
Like previous post, a diagnosis will not change your child. He is the same with or without it. The difference: a diagnosis will be the first step to helping him. If you fear a label, they don't share it with anyone (if he does good or somewhat good at school then maybe don't even tell the school). Information is always good. On the other hand, I personnally have a fear of the wrong diagnosis... But look at it that way: you have to start somewhere. And if medications worry you or any other kind of treatment, remember you have the last word. Listen to advice and then make an advised decision the best you can. And keep in mind that nothing is written in stone. If you are afraid of making mistakes in your decision, don't let that stop you from moving forward, you can always change your course of action later on.
Let me give an exemple of nothing is wriiten in stone: my easy child was evaluated for speech delay at 2 years old. They diagnosis him with severe delay (the worse you could get on their charts) and I had never realized it was that bad... Now, I'm panicing and ask the expert how long he will need speech therapy. They look at each other, kind of embarassed. I ask "6 months? maybe a year?". Still not at easy they just tell me "no... probably MUCH longer". Well, 1 year later he was completly caught up with his age group! The experts could not believe it. Moral: kids are hard to predict and prognosis are more of a guess than science.
Good luck and come here as often as you need.


New Member
medicine is an art, it can take a long time to diagnose things, my best friend for example it took them years to diagnose her seizures, they said it was sleep apnea, then it was anxiety, then it was panic attacks, turned out to be grand mal seizures. That took a good 10yrs to diagnose, scary! Totally not trying to scare you, but the road to finding out could be bumpy but it's a road worth traveling, whatever you can do to help your son that is all that matters.

Knowledge is power, knowing what is going on can only help your son. but I totally get the wishing "he's fine, there is nothing wrong with him" I do that too....I think this is ok it's normal, it's us that need to learn how to parent him, but I know in my heart it's more, and that's ok, I just need to know what so I can help him.


Well-Known Member
The world of psychology is different than some medical fields... they have this special label: not otherwise specified. It stands for "not otherwise specified". And they DO use it. For example:
- if the child is highly anxious but doesn't fit one of the more formal anxiety-related labels, they can say the child has an "anxiety disorder - not otherwise specified". This confirms that there is a problem with anxiety, and does provide some direction, confirmation - and can be used in the school setting.
- if the child has some aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (esp. the social issues), but doesn't meet the full criteria - the psychiatrist may label "Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) - not otherwise specified" (Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) = pervasive developmental disorder - one of which is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)). This means the child has some fairly severe issues, but doesn't fit some nice neat little "box".

We've found that psychologists are more likely to err on the side of some label - obviously, if there was no problem, you wouldn't be seeing this doctor!

Sometimes they will use the term "atypical" - as in, meets clinical definition of X, but doesn't have the more common combination of symptoms, so needs to be handled differently. We've had some of those, too.

So you're likely going to come home with "something" for a label. Hopefully, more than one... because its almost never one label. But this is a process; think in terms of layers. Sometimes you can't find the next set of problems until you begin to deal with the first set.

Don't be afraid of medications, but don't treat them as a cure-all either. They work for some kids with some conditions - and sometimes, its almost a miracle the difference it makes. But not everyone can tolerate the medications, and the medications don't always work.

For the record, ADHD is not "overdiagnosed". But it is often "mis-diagnosed"... kids who should have the label get missed (more often girls, but not always) almost as often as kids getting the label who are really something else (more often boys). Again, the "typical" ADHD kid tends to get the right label (hyper, can't focus, can't sit still, disrupts the class...) - but the one who is primarily inattentive, or primarily executive functions... gets missed more often.


New Member
different topic but sorta the same....my easy child has always struggled in school. teachers always tell me "oh she so nice, sweet, smart etc." And I have always asked do you think she could have a learning disability, she has such classic signs of one. Anyways, I have taken the steps on my own to have her tested for a possible learning disability through the school system. Can they diagnose her? With all my research for difficult child I have noticed alot of things she shows on a daily basis. They are testing her for all areas related to suspected disability - educational assesment (by Special Education teacher), she is going to be observed by school psychologist for a few days, school pyshcologist is also going to assess her learning capacity and style, social and emotional dev and skills, and an educational assessment by her guidance coulselor. So after all this testing takes place, if she has say ADHD or anything, can they officially diagnose her as such?


Hi amy1129,
It is hard. I mean, yes some kids can just have one big attitude. And, all doctors do not agree. But, lets say you go to a few different Dr's/tests, and two out of three agree. Any Diag is scary,and labels can be hard,especially if it doesn't "seem" to fit. You will just have go with what you think is best,base it off of what has happened and is happening. My son Pysc said first visit,ODD,Anxiety who knows what else. Second visit,he said the same with he sees my son being in jail at 17 years old. Third visit because my son had great playing skills,no tantrum and" communicated well" with them, he had a new Diag. To "socialize" and "let him grow". I cried, he said I was the one with the problem. So, the best thing to do is keep trying or at least trying ways at home to "better things" Good luck.


New Member
can they officially diagnose her as such?
To my knowledge, NO. They are NOT doctors They can treat her as if she has it, even set up IEP or 504, but eventually a Dr will have to make it "official" to satisfy eligibility requirements.

The only evaluations son has had regarding Asperger's have been through the school. I'm good with that and they set up the IEPs and everything was fine. At a certain grade (2nd or 3rd) I was told that at this age they needed to get an "official" Dr diagnosis. No insurance, no money, so when I took him for his annual physical, I took ALL the evaluations, and asked the Dr to sign off on them. She actually sat down and spent 45 minutes reading all of them. She signed off on it and that's how son got "official"
Now that he has insurance, we are going to try and get an 'official" evaluation and diagnosis. No, neuropsychologist is not on the table yet. Best I have right now is a neurologist and still have to wait 2-3 months.


Well-Known Member
I have no idea how it is in Canada, but my experience with school diagnoses is that they just are not really all that hot. I like NeuroPsychs, but not sure they are available readily in Canada. If they are, I would them for both kids.


Well-Known Member
It seems like the issues "our" kids have (this site's family) are sort of a big tangled knot - and you can't find the end of the string to start to unravel it...

It really helps to have ONE professional - either medical or school - who recognizes there are problems, AND is prepared to back that with testing and recommendations. Whatever this person's "letters" are will determine what diagnosis are possible... BUT its almost irrelevant, in some ways, what the "letters" are as long as they are good at what they do, and you have a working relationship with them.

SO, if you are getting some testing done through the school, that may be a good start. If the school report comes back with out-of-school recommendations - its usually easier to get in to the relevant specialist with the school report behind you. As in, it isn't "just the parent" who sees problem X and is wondering about diagnosis Y... SCHOOL sees a problem and has recommended testing for... (fill in the blanks). It might be Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech Language Pathologist (SLP), or other specifics, OR it might be a description of what they see at school (behavior, academic results) that they feel warrants further research on the medical side.

Whoever does the testing will be qualified to diagnosis SOMETHING. It might not be what your child has - but they will be an expert. SO, if they find learning disabilities on school testing, that will likely be a formal diagnosis as far as both the school and medical communities are concerned - but it might not be the ONLY diagnosis...

The short answer... yes, the school specialists can diagnosis some things, and will provide useful information for pursuing other diagnosis outside of school.


Active Member
Hi Amy,

Yes, the school district psychiatric can diagnosis your daughter with learning disabilities. In fact, I'd bet most LDs are diagnosis by the school psychiatric. That is a huge part of their job -- testing and diagnosis children as part of the IEP process.

Will they be testing her soon or not until next fall?


For your son, a label is just that -- a label -- it gives his treatment team a direction to go in and as they try different things (medications and therapy) and see what works and what doesn't, they will fine tune the diagnosis. The reason that many kids start with an ADHD or ODD label is those are pretty broad diagnosis categories and not as "heavy" as bipolar or autism. Many times insurance requires a diagnosis in order to pay for tx so they have to pick something.

Tigger started out being diagnosis with Bipolar at 5. We now know that it was an incorrect diagnosis but it seemed a good guess at the time. Due to that diagnosis, he was put on Depakote and given therapy on handling his emotions. Since his correct diagnosis is Epilepsy and Autism, both of those tx actually helped the real problem.

Stick with your mommy-gut, if they come back with a diagnosis that just seems totally off the wall, ask them to explain how they reached that conclusion. If you still disagree, feel free to explain to them why -- there may be infomation that they hadn't considered. All 3 of my older kids had at least one "lost in space diagnosis" and I was very blunt with the "professionals" about why I refused to accept their conclusion.