A Diagnosis is More Than Just a Label

An accurate diagnosis can open the door to treatment, resources, and support.

Jillian Enright

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Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

A diagnosis can help people find their cohorts, which in turn helps them to feel less alone.

Social stigma vs. support system

Understandably, sometimes parents and caregivers are anxious about pursuing an assessment or diagnosis for their child because they are afraid of their child being labelled: Afraid of teachers or peers making assumptions about their child and not giving them a chance. There is, of course, this risk with any diagnosis.

Unfortunately, ADHD and other conditions do come with stigma, preconceived (usually ill-conceived) notions and assumptions. As I wrote in another article, stereotypes and misconceptions about ADHD abound and are harmful.

Neurodiversity refers to variations between human minds occurring naturally within a population, and includes conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyspraxia, and dyslexia, among others.

That said, if a child is struggling enough in their life that parents are considering intervention, then I would posit that some teachers, adults, and peers may already be making judgements based on the child’s outward behaviour. Worse, that child may be making harsh judgements of themselves, and without an explanation, they and others may blame those struggles solely on the child.

Resources & supports

When a diagnosis of ADHD is made by a qualified professional, it can open up a world of information for families. Once we have an understanding of what we are dealing with, we can educate ourselves, and we can find out what resources are out there for us to access. We can develop skills and tools to manage the challenging parts of neurodivergence to make life easier for ourselves, and most importantly, for our children.

A diagnosis may also allow a student to receive appropriate supports at school. Where we live, we have something called an SSP (Student-Specific Plan), formerly called an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). In the U.S. they also have IEPs as well…

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Jillian Enright

She/they. Neurodivergent, 20+ yrs SW & Psych. experience. I write about mental health, neurodiversity, education, and parenting. Founder of Neurodiversity MB.