Asperger's Syndrome in Young Children: A Developmental Guide for Parents and Professionals

By Laurie Leventhal-Belfer; Cassandra Coe | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Diagnosis

Any parent who notices that his child seems a little different than the child's peers or siblings wonders if his concerns are valid or if he is making too much out of nothing, not respecting the child's differences. It takes a great deal of courage to go to a professional for help, especially when your child is young and may seem to be [on target] in so many ways. Often it isn't until a preschool or kindergarten teacher begins discussing concerns that the parents are forced to try to confront their child's issues. Many parents have an underlying fear that a [label] will be more harmful than helpful to their child. Understandably, some parents worry that a diagnosis will stigmatize their child and lead to others having lower expectations for their child. We hope that this chapter will take away some of the fears that are often associated with taking a child to a mental health professional for an evaluation. In our opinion the goal of a good assessment is to provide you with insight into your child and guidance for helping him in the areas where he is experiencing difficulty. We will provide a guideline for an assessment that is based on the same developmental approach to the child that we have used in the first and second chapters. As you can see in Figure 3.1 the model examines not only the child's strengths and weaknesses but also the stresses and resources in his family and community.

We also hope that this chapter will take away some of the mystery behind the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome by exploring how the information gained during the assessment is used to determine which diagnosis best fits the child. Once again we want to stress that a diagnosis can have many different objectives. First and foremost a diagnosis has the potential to foster parents' understanding of their child, providing a base from which to look for both educational and support resources. Of course, care must be taken so that this information is not presented in a way that affects their ability to see their child's strengths. Second, it provides a term that has a shared meaning

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