But I’m worried about labels, what do I do?

As a result of the assessment, it is very likely your child will receive a diagnosis. A diagnosis is a framework for understanding your child and what they need. It is also a framework to help them understand themselves. When a child grasps what comes easily and what doesn’t, it allows them to develop a healthy self-esteem and to feel empowered by their strengths. 

We know labels can be scary and we’re happy to explain how this might impact your child and your family. Unfortunately, without a label, your child cannot receive the services they need to learn and grow. Testing and diagnosis open doors for treatment. We’re here to help you find the right label and the right treatments for your child. 

We know that your child is more than a diagnosis. They are a human being with a unique personality, skills, and abilities and we will celebrate their strengths.

What if my child self-diagnosed on Tik-Tok?

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably heard of the term, “neurodiversity.” This is a replacement term for “disorder.” Different processing styles, or ways of thinking, are necessary to solve the world’s problems. 

Neurodiversity is something to be celebrated and our approach is neurodiversity-affirming. We will address the tough stuff, but we will also discuss the many strengths associated with your child’s thinking, mood, and personality profile. 

If your child comes in with a specific diagnosis in mind, that’s okay! We are excited they are trying to understand themselves and looking for language to do so. What they think is going on, might not be what is actually going on. The interviews and tests we do with your child will help us understand whether they have it right or whether we see it differently.

What if my child is on their “best behavior?” Will you be able to tell what is really going on?

Even young children understand that they are being brought to a doctor to be “tested” for something. It is likely that they are already afraid that “something is wrong with them.” If they are struggling at home or school, they are also looking for answers to explain what is going on. We will join with your child to help them answer questions they have about themselves.

When a child is on their “best behavior,” we call it “honeymooning.” We know they are most likely to act out at home because they “love you enough to show you their worst!” Whether or not your child is “honeymooning” with us actually tells us a lot about their personality and skills.

There are a number of methods we use to determine whether your child is underreporting, or “minimizing” their symptoms, or overreporting them, or “faking bad.” We gather data from many sources in order to triangulate an issue and differentiate it from other problems. We pull information from multiple sources, including: an interview with you, your child, and other medical professionals, the standardized testing data, teacher and parent report, and observation of their behavior and responses to us on the testing day. One data point alone does not equal a diagnosis. We are looking for patterns in the data that are consistent with a certain diagnosis and their behavior across environments. 

It is important to us that you feel like we “get” your child. We will work collaboratively with you to discuss any questions or concerns about your child in-depth at the feedback session. 

Should we wait until they are older to get an assessment? 

The feedback we hear most often from parents is, “we wish we did this sooner!” We can conduct testing on children as young as 0-12 months old. This helps us to know whether your child’s development is “on” or “off” track. Testing with infants is usually only necessary in those who have complex medical issues, such as extreme prematurity, prenatal exposure to substances, perinatal stroke, or genetic or metabolic disorders. Research shows that the earlier your child receives treatment, the less their challenges will impact them over time. This doesn’t mean that older children, adolescents, or young adults won’t benefit from testing. New challenges can crop up at any age and we are happy to support you in helping your child through their current difficulties.