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Do you tell someone their child is probably diagnosed wrong?

I have a job where knowledge of the DSM manual is a must. I recently had a conversation with a woman who told me that her daughter was diagnosed as Aspergers with hallucinations.

This is most likely not her daughters problem. There is a fine line between Autistic Spetrum Disorders and schziophrenia. The difference between the criteria in the DSM is that autistics do not have hallucinations.

I asked my boss why the doctor would have given that diagnosis and he said that most docs do not like to label a child as schizophrenic, so they just label it as and ASD with hallucinations. I asked him if he thinks a parent should have the right to know this and he said yes, he thinks they should.

So, do if this happens again, do I tell a parent that the doctor didn't want to give her the more realistic diagnosis?


Asked by Anonymous at 5:32 PM on Jul. 7, 2010 in Kids' Health

This question is closed.
Answers (17)
  • I think there is a big difference between giving your advice as a mom with experience in a particular disorder, and telling someone outright that their child wasn't correctly diagnosed. If all of us whose kids have rare disorders always kept our mouths shut, many of our kids would still be undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed.

    Any mom of a special needs kid should know to take any advice from another mom as just that - advice. I would never stop a medication or treatment just because of what a mom told me, but you can be sure I'd do some research and get another opinion if I thought they might be right. Most pediatricians and many pediatric specialists miss rare disorders. It can take seeing a specialist in that particular disorder to get an accurate diagnosis.

    In the question's example, I would have said that diagnosis was unusual, and suggested a second opinion by a peds psychiatrist with more specialized expertise,

    Answer by CCHSMOM at 10:58 AM on Jul. 8, 2010

  • Unless you are a licensed medical physician it's a felony for you to make a medical diagnosis.

    Answer by Linds2Horse at 5:34 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • I would not tell her that the Dr. does not want to give her proper diagnosis. i would just tell her what you know about it & say something like "Aspergers & hallucinations are a rare combo, maybe you should check out this info I've been reading about" I would make a friendly suggestion & let her know what you know & what you do, who you work with & why you must know about the DSM manual. But, accusing her Dr. of purposely diagnosing her child wrong is a stretch. I would not do that.


    Answer by samurai_chica at 5:39 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • i usually just give my own diagnosis of what i think of your kid when i meet goes something like this "oh they are sweet" or "oh what a cutie" or "your kid is the freakin devil..get him away from me"

    Answer by shay1130 at 5:35 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • Please MYOB. I am sure that the Mother knows exactly what the problem is with her daughter. When there is an issue with your child you instinctively research it to find a cause and remedy. Obviously the child's issues are being addressed. You may think you are helping and it may be a nice gesture but I am sure the Mother is not ignorant. She sought out Medical Professionals to help her daughter. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions". Be careful you could loose your job. If she asks your opinion then give it to her otherwise don't say anything.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 6:29 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • No, I wouldn't, because I'm not a doctor.
    You, yourself said that it's "most likely not her daughters problem" So... what if you were wrong?
    I might ask if she has a second opinion or any questions about her daughter's diagnosis, but I would not tell a parent that her doctor didn't want to give her a more realistic diagnosis.
    I just feel like it wouldn't be my place to be quite that bold, but that's just strictly me.

    Answer by ManicMomma02 at 5:34 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • No, you don't. If your boss explained to you that the doctor does not want to label a child so young, then why would you intentionally go and do it?

    Good for you that you know the manual, but I cannot stand people who have a bit of information and decide that they can start diagnosing people. If you, yourself, are not a doctor then please don't diagnose people based on your manual. You can recommend that the person always get a 2nd or 3rd opinion, but that is about it.

    Answer by Niki_sd at 5:37 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • I would ask her to have another physician with a specialty in schizophrenia reevaluate to be sure so she can get the right kind of services.

    Answer by lovinangels at 5:33 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • No I wouldn't say anything. Like someone else said, if you yourself are not a licensed medical doctor, you really have no "authority" to tell someone what is wrong with their child...nor would I ever listen to someone who wasn't a doctor, "diagnosing" my child's problem. If you really think you are right on this one, I would just tell her to maybe get a second opinion from a specialist or something and leave it at.

    Answer by Ash9724 at 5:50 PM on Jul. 7, 2010

  • I agree if you aren't the doctor no. There are reasons for doing this and sometimes it is due to insurance. My daughter has cerebral palsy yet since it is mild they call her diagnosis congenitial hemiplasia. Helps if my husband switches insurance it is a congenitial disorder and not labeled as something major like CP

    Answer by carmadsmom at 6:07 PM on Jul. 7, 2010