Thursday, November 09, 2006

U-Turn

After my last series of posts, Fathersvox pointed out that I was omitting one of the qualifying remarks made by the clinical professional with whom we met earlier in the week.

Fathersvox recalled, correctly, that the psychologist didn't exactly say that Sweet M has ASD. Rather she said, "It would be unprofessional of me to not point out that she fits the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder, but since I did not do the developmental history I can't actually make the diagnosis."

Yes. It's true. She did say that.

So, Fathersvox points out, accurately, that we still don't actually have an ASD Dx. We have a child who fits the diagnostic criteria.

In a sense this is a distinction without a difference, and I have the feeling that we are still roaring along into autism's wide open spaces, but I wonder why I heard her wrong.

I think I am just tired of diagnostic ambiguity, with all the possibilities it presents for people making claims that Sweet M is oppositional, or just doesn't listen, or doesn't try, or can't be bothered. And by inference that we are bad parents who can't control our child, haven't socialized her adequately, and who have no regard for others.

I guess I'm at the point where I long for the certainty that would allow me to say "She's autistic. What's your excuse?" (as do some of the great t-shirts that Kassiane pointed to over at Cafe Press.)

6 comments:

mcewen said...

I try to think of 'labels' as a ticket to 'services' rather than a definition of who my children are.
Best wishes

Jan B said...

Well said, mcewen! I agree.

MothersVox said...

Yes, a Dx is a ticket to services, but the question is which services? Not having an autism Dx ensured that Sweet M would be in a school that is academically challenging. But it seems that we've paid for that because the school doesn't want to deal with social skills, sensory issues, or behaviors.

We were told pretty last year that if Sweet M had gotten an ASD Dx early on that the NYC Board of Ed expectation would be that she is MR (which she's not.)

So while it may open the door for some services, it also closes the door on other opportunities. I think all of these Dx's cut both ways.

Julibean said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Julibean said...

Oops, I tried to post a link to the New York Times, and the address came out all mangled. There is an article in today's paper entitled "What's Wrong with a Child? Psychiatrists Often Disagree" and it describes how many children go through a laundry list of diagnoses, none of which really accurately describe what they are experiencing. The thing that scared me was that having one diagnosis or another immediately suggested a certain kind of treatment, rather than tailoring the treatment to the child's idiosyncratic symptoms. Doctors seemed too quick to prescribe medicine that worked for "kids with this disorder" and to dismiss treatments that maybe didn't fit in exactly with the disorder.

MothersVox said...

Julibean, Thanks for trying to post the link . . . I'll post it in an entry. When I saw the article I was stunned by the timeliness of it. Sounds as though Diagnostic Ambiguity is a more crowded place than I'd imagined.