Is My Child Disordered?
No. Your child is not disordered.
Many of the mental health conditions and neurodevelopmental disabilities in the DSM 5, the manual US clinicians use to diagnose clients, end in the word "disorder."
The parents who I see for coaching and consulting usually have children with any of the following diagnoses:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Adjustment Disorder
When I was practicing as a psychotherapist who billed insurance and who treated children & adolescents exclusively, I saw clients with the above diagnoses and also:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Separation Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Sensory Processing Disorder (not in the DSM, so categorized differently)
- Developmental Trauma Disorder (not in the DSM, so categorized differently)
Functioning is Disordered, Not People
When a person has a diagnosis that ends in the word "disorder" it does not mean that they themselves are disordered. It means they have a condition that has an official name, and that condition compromises their functioning in one or more areas of life. Functioning can be compromised internally with mood, interpersonally with friends, partners & family, learning abilities, occupations, goal achievement, sleep, eating, and more.
I have posted on this topic on Instagram recently. Feel free to check those posts out: here and here.
A disorder denotes significantly compromised functioning, what therapists call "clinical significance" in areas important to the individual. The compromise in functioning negatively impacts their life and relationships, things that matter most.
We don't have to tip toe around the reality of having a disorder. Life is harder with a disorder. It's ok to admit that. If it wasn't harder there would be no need for the help of therapists or doctors.
Let's say it again:
A disorder is something a person has and not something that they are.
Contact me if you need help talking to your child about a diagnosis and what it all means.
For informational purposes only and not medical advice.