Can you diagnose without a doctor?

by Jessica
(London, Ontario, Canada)

My step son is struggling with many of the issues I've read about here but his Dad doesn't want him tested for anything because he doesn't want him treated differently, problem is, he's already being treated differently.


At ten he still wears sweats to school and big t-shirts because he doesn't like the feel of clothes touching him, he also doesn't like underwear or socks. He touches everything and has to fidget constantly and be loud and disruptive, but not to the point where a friend or teacher would be concerned, they just think he's attention starved and annoying. He's very easily upset or angered but can't communicate anything personal. He has severe issues paying attention, keeping track and count and he cannot handle being alone. He never just walks anywhere, he either stomps, skips or drags his feet, he cannot sit still and likes to tap or bang or hit things for the noise and feel of it. He has no ability to tell when he is full to stop eating so weight is a huge issue for him at home, which probably contributes to the constant overheating and tiring easily but hard to say, he is pretty active. He also seems impervious to pain, likes needles, has broken his arm without so much as a whimper, but freaks out when his sister lightly hits him and insists that it really hurt.

His issues are across the map for the checklist so it's not helpful. Without being able to understand him, he is pushing his friends and siblings and even his parental figures away because they wont put up with him, I don't think he can help it, and I can't get him properly diagnosed so what can I do?

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Sep 20, 2011
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Jessica, I completely empathize with your family
by: Anonymous

Hello Jessica:

As I read your posting, my heart just went out to you and your family.

I have a 7 year old boy that has always seemed different. For many years, we have wondered if he is just an unruly handful, or if his behavior is a sign of something more serious. Like your stepson, my son refuses to wear clothing that is not comfortable. He only wears sweat-style pants and soft cotton t-shirts. He is also showing some signs of not being able to stop eating when he gets a food he likes. He is very, very picky about food. When my son attended school, he annoyed other children, and just didn't seem to have the social skills to make friends or the ability to read social cues. Whether we liked it or not, he was already being labeled by other children, and to watch him be ostracized by his peers was absolutely devastating for me.

Like your (I assume) husband, I was VERY afraid of going to a doctor that would LABEL my son or mis-diagnose him. I was also afraid that we would get a doctor that would take the "easy route" and immediately diagnose our son with ADHD and prescribe Ritalin.

We just returned today for a preliminary screening with an Occupational Therapist. Because of my reluctance and my fears, this is the first time that we have taken any action to try to find out what is going on with our son. The therapist said that our son shows some signs of having Sensory Processing Disorder. We go back next week for a full evaluation to confirm a diagnosis.

I was very hesitant to take my son to this appointment this morning. Now that we are closer than ever before to understanding what may be going on with my son, I have made an about-face. The label no longer matters. Getting my son the help he needs IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS. The therapist we met today was absolutely amazing and has extensive experience helping children with SPD's. If others decide to judge my son or our family because of the diagnosis, then so be it. I can't help what other people think, but I WILL HELP MY SON get the OT therapy, physical therapy, sensory integration therapy, or social skills therapy he needs.

If you think it might help, share this post with your husband. Reassure him that he is not the only person that has been hesitant to see a specialist. He is not the only person that is afraid of labels.

Seeing a therapist could be the best thing that has ever happened for your family.

All the best.

Jun 27, 2011
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seek help
by: Anonymous

my heart goes out to you. i hear your cries of concern. sounds like this sweet boy is in need of some type of intervention. it also sounds like, though he already has struggles, the challenges and struggles will probably become worse with time and/or age and he may become negatively 'labeled' or ostracized or scrutinized even further to the point of self defeating/destructive behaviors, or coping strategies. i've seen it happen first hand with a loved one. please don't wait. he needs you to advocate for him. he is still young and there are so many things that can be effective. help him learn the tools he needs NOW, in order to be more productive and happy in life to come.

perhaps you can make a couple of phone calls and find out what types of services there are in your area. there is also a great link on this sensory blog website for how to go about finding help in certain areas and fields of concern.

wishing you well.

Jun 21, 2011
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Please get him some help
by: Anonymous

You would be doing him a huge favor if you took him to a doctor to be diagnosed. If he has a proper diagnosis he would be eligible for physical therapy and sensory therapy, both you be a huge help to him. It sounds like he's uncomfortable in his own skin. And it would help him tremendously.
Please do it for him as well as your family!

Jun 21, 2011
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Diagnosis
by: Anonymous

Hello Jessica I understand you. The advice I can give you my humble experience, is that you must go to a child psychiatrist. The problems your child may be part of the autistic spectrum, the competent specialist will advise you on how to help your child.If your husband does not understand that there is a problem you are facing you in the most appropriate research to help your child. courage.

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