Friday, September 23, 2011

A diagnosis, sort of

A couple weeks ago, we met with the psychologist who tested Peter in a 3-hour session last month. She gave us a lengthy report and talked about all the testing measures she used to evaluate Peter. It was a good meeting, but the results of the testing and what that will mean for our family's future is still unclear.

According to the psychological report, "Peter appears to meet much of the criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type . . . However, given his young age and the fact that he has not yet had a structured year of education . . . a diagnosis is not given at this time." Instead, he has been identified as having "Disruptive Behavior Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS)."

After I got home, though, I realized, we hadn't really discussed was Disruptive Behavior Disorder was. Thank goodness for internet research. I found the best explanation on this site
". . . Clinicians may use the Disruptive Behavior Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) diagnosis, which is a kind of catch-all diagnosis for disruptive behavior problems in children.
A child diagnosed with Disruptive Behavior Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) has some features of Conduct Disorder or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but not all of the symptoms necessary to meet the full DSM criteria for either disorder. The child demonstrates significantly impaired interpersonal and family relationships, and/or disturbed school functioning. The Not Otherwise Specified diagnosis enables the diagnosing clinician to document that there is a real behavioral problem occurring, but to do so in a tentative manner, which can be clarified in greater detail at a later time as more information becomes available."
Most useful were the psychologist's recommendations:
  • Start Peter in individual play therapy (which will be with a child psychologist).
  • Refer Peter to the Special Education department in our school/district for accommodations.
  • Have an updated psychological evalution when Peter turns 6 for a more accurate diagnosis.
  • Work with school to make accommodations for his behavior.
  • Educate ourselves about ADHD.
As you can imagine, we are still trying to adjust to this news. Making sense of a conduct/behavior disorder while handling the daily demands cystic fibrosis has been a challenge. What has been great, though, is talking with several other people whose kids have ADHD. They have been encouraging and supportive, and I'm so grateful we're not alone in this.

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