Your Special Need Child Diagnosis
What Does It Mean?

What is wrong with my child?

There comes a point when every parent of a special need child asks what is wrong with my child?

Hopefully your doctor will give you a specific diagnosis for your child.

But what does the diagnosis that you receive for your child really mean?

Every parent wants a diagnosis for their child. You know that something is wrong, and you want to be able to put a label on it. In some cases, that diagnosis helps you to know what problems your special need child is going to face in life and possibly how to find help for your child.

But, if you are trying to make your special need child better, it is sometimes best to simply know that your child has a brain injury. Then work on how to improve his or her brain function.

Our Story

Six years ago, our son was diagnosed with microcephaly due to severe encephalmalacia and cerebral palsy at 4 months old. Our son had severe brain damage.

Prior to his diagnosis, he was given a CAT scan because his skull was undersized. Perhaps there was a skeletal problem that needed corrected, we were told. The CAT scan would show us. Instead, it showed us something much more terrible.

Our pediatrician cried when he showed us the CAT scan of our son's brain. He and the other professionals in our town had rarely seen a child with so much brain damage.

The huge dark area inside the skull on the CAT scan was where his brain should show up. But it wasn't there. He had massive brain damage throughout his cortex and mid brain.

Knowing that he had cerebral palsy (literally, "brain paralysis") or even microcephaly (literally, "very small brain") didn't help. Although we now had a label when asked what is wrong with him, the diagnosis did not help us at all to know what to do next for him. Or how to help him, if possible.

Lessons Learned

Through the process of trying to find answers for our son's situation, we realized that whether your special need child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microcephaly (or microencephaly), hydrocephalus, down syndrome (or down's syndrome), autism, or any of a number of other specific terms, he or she is brain injured.

The underlying cause and symptoms may differ for each diagnosis, but the result is the same. Your child's brain isn't functioning properly. It has an injury. Your child is brain injured.

There is a wide spectrum of severity of brain damage in brain injured children, of course. On one end is brain injury so severe that the child is in a coma. On the other end of the spectrum is mild brain injury that can affect your child in certain situations (such as, obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD).

Most special needs children are somewhere in between. But all of them need help to make their brain function better.

Bottom Line

It is important to know what is meant by the diagnosis given to your child. Hopefully the information provided through the following links regarding common diagnoses that your child may have received will be helpful:

Click here to learn more about the Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

Click here for infomation about different types of cerebral palsy

The real question though is not what label to put on your child.

The real question is what can you do to help your special needs brain injured child?

Treat the brain injury, not the diagnosis.

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