How to Ensure a Correct Diagnosis


"My 12-year-old son was diagnosed with ADD, OCD, and Tourette's syndrome, and may show signs of Asperger's Syndrome. He has never had tests other than an interview and psychiatric observations, so how do I determine if these diagnoses are correct?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

When a child has a complex pattern of disorders, it is important to get a thorough evaluation. This evaluation probably would require seeing a child and adolescent psychiatrist, plus possibly other studies (e.g., psycho-educational testing, neuro-psychological testing, etc.).

It is not always easy to clarify if a child has Asperger's, which is a type of Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and a learning disability, along with ADHD, OCD, an anxiety disorder, or other problems. I would encourage you to seek such an assessment. The treatment approaches for each disorder are similar in some areas, but very different in others.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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