Diagnosis & Disclosure: Children and Teens

Diagnosis of a child can be the beginning of a parent’s journey, but often it is not. Parents frequently report to us that they suspected that their child was different quite early on. These suspicions may have been dismissed or attributed to a temporary glitch in a child’s early development, something that the parent was reassured he would “grow out of.” Many parents who come to AANE report that their children had at least one other diagnosis prior to receiving the current one. Some have children or teens with multiple diagnoses. Some parents who come to us are still searching for a diagnosis that makes sense to them. And some feel ambivalent about the idea of “labeling” their child. Regardless of your family’s current situation, AANE has resources to assist you with understanding the diagnostic process and using it as a way of understanding your child better as well as getting her the help she needs.

The issue of disclosure usually comes up soon after a diagnosis is received. Usually parents approach AANE staff with questions about disclosing the diagnosis to their child. They also wonder whether they need to tell family members, educators, or those with whom the child interacts in the community and what they should say about their child’s specific profile and needs. We can help guide you through all of these big decisions and important conversations. Here are a few resources to get you started.

Essential Resources:

Professionals Who Can Diagnosis
What Does This Diagnosis Mean?
Making Sense of the Alphabet Soup of Diagnoses
Parent Coaching
Support Groups
First Person Accounts
Wallet Card