What are diagnoses?

Diagnoses are names used to label a specific set of symptoms that are being experienced by a child.

What does a diagnoses really mean for a child?

The diagnosis or labelling of the cluster of symptoms then helps to narrow down and specifically tailor:

  • What other issues commonly occur simultaneously.
  • What medication might be appropriate.
  • What therapies might help the child (e.g. Medical, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Psychology).
  • What the course of intervention (medical and/or allied health) might be and what outcome might be expected (prognosis).
  • What can be done to help the child.

Why are diagnoses helpful?

A diagnosis helps the child and their carers (parents, teachers, health professionals, carers) to:

  • Access information about the relevant cluster of symptoms.
  • Communicate the salient features of the child’s challenges to all people involved in the child’s care.
  • Possibly interpret certain behaviours differently in light of the diagnosis.
  • Obtain information about what can be done to help the child.
  • Determine specifically where and how to help the child.
  • Access funding or services that might not otherwise be accessible.

Why are diagnoses not the only answer to helping your child?

Diagnoses can be helpful in helping those that live or work with a child who has a diagnosis to understand the ‘big picture’.

However, even though the diagnosis describes a cluster of symptoms, most Allied Health practitioners work to positively influence the symptoms the child is living with rather than working to the diagnosis itself.

As such, the diagnosis of often less important in the treatment process than is commonly believed. Diagnosis alone often does not influence the treatment rendered to a child.

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