What does it mean when your child is diagnosed with ADHD?

A new fascinating contribution to Babybrains’ column, “Scientists Word.”

What does it mean when your child is diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental disorder? Does it mean that one bit of their brain is not working? Is it useful to label children by their disorders? Dr Leonard addresses these issues. Here is an abstract of what she has to say:

"The specific diagnoses that children receive are based on behavioural symptoms, rather than brain imaging, and so similar areas of the brain may be affected, but may result in different behaviour and is therefore given a different diagnostic label. Some parents prefer not to see their child ‘labelled’ with a particular disorder, and it is true that within each diagnostic category, children can vary hugely, as is the case in typical development. Other parents fight for a diagnosis because this is the only way that their child can receive the best support for their difficulties. Either way, it is important to remember that a diagnostic label can help to make sense of a range of difficulties that are common between children with a particular neurodevelopmental disorder, but it does not take away the unique character of each child or account for all of the differences in behaviour that make an individual."


Dr Leonard is currently recruiting for a study about infant motor development. The study investigates whether having an older sibling affects how quickly an infant reaches his/her motor milestones. If you live in the UK, are the parent of an infant under 6 months old, and would like to find out more about participating in this study, please contact h.leonard@gold.ac.uk.

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