When are fellow patients/clients going to stop diagnosing each other? This afternoon I was rejected by a support group for DID that I’d been attending monthly for two years, because the others felt I made an off impression (I recognized just a bit too much of other people’s stories) and they required a better evaluation before I could be seen as an officially-diagnosed client and allowed back into the group. Isn’t that a professional’s duty not a fellow client’s? I mean, to diagnose a client and determine if further testing is needed?
It may be because I coome from the autistic community, where it is not done to diagnose other autistics and where people who strongly self-identify as autistic are just as welcome as those with a formal diagnosis. I can understand that this may not work for a group of traumatized people like those with DID, so I can see why the group demanded a formal diagnosis. However, I have an official diagnosis. It may not have been done exactly as should, but I’m pretty sure a therapist, if spending enough time with the client, can always diagnose disorders better than a fellow client.
Okay, I’m familiar with the Rosenhan experiments, where the patients did pick up who was fake and wo wasn’t but the professionals didn’t, but that’s assuming a patient sees their fellow patients more often than they see a therapist. For this group, this is just not the case. And it’s not like patients don’t have a bias when looking at other patients, while therapists do. I think everyone has a bias equally depending on what information they’re given. If patients could do diagnoses better than therapists, therapists could spend lots more hours on actual treatment, and it’d be way cheaper for the health insurance companies too. Wow, the Dutch support group for DID has found the solution for the raising healthcare costs.
On Wrong Planet, a forum for people with Asperger’s (and they claim all types of autism and neurodiverse conditions, but they’re a bit supremacist), there is a discussion going on about why Aspies tend to be verbal thinkers while those with classic autism tend to be visual thinkers. I replied on the forum already but wanted to muse on for a bit.
Here is the thing: Asperger’s criteria say someone with this diagnosis must have a normal to above-normal IQ. Most people tend to judge intelligence by verbal IQ. While obviously an IQ test tests both verbal and performance IQ, except when you’re blind like us, people who are thought of as intelligent tend to have a higher verbal IQ than performance IQ. It’s actually known (Michelle Dawson and others researched this) that autistics who are thought of as intellectually disabled, often score much higher on non-verbal IQ tests like the Raven Progressive Matrices than on the Wechsler scales.
Add to this the fact that classic autism requires communication impairments, often in verbal communication, and Asperger’s requires no impairment in language by early childhood. Verbal communication diffiuclties easily lead people to think visually. Conversely, people with an AS diagnosis often have difficulties in non-verbal communication (it’s one of the symptoms in the social interaction domain), so may more likely become verbal thinkers.
I don’t honestly feel that the verbal/visual dichotomy is of any diagnostic importance unless the other bullcrap about “functioning levels”, self-help skills etc. is tossed out of the criteira. It is, after all, too often thought that those with AS are different in many other respects besides being verbal rather than visual thinkers. If we’re going to decide that there are different autism subtypes, ie. a visual and a verbal subtype, then we ought to leave it at that and not presume other differences unless they’re shown to be inherently linked to verbal or visual thinking.
Hi, this is Katinka. We’ve had a number of blogs for ourselves on a number of sites over the years, and after a while we’re returning to WordPress. I really hope this blog will stay active, as I do know a lot of mental health loggers here. I need to say a little about the fact that it’s me posting: a few months ago, we noticed that it wasn’t helping to push Astrid in front at all times. Astrid doens’t have a clue who she is or if she’s even real at all. Mostly it was Clarissa taking over anyway, or it was me but I had to pretend to be Astrid. We decided to make Clarissa, Kirsten and myself responsible for daily life. Astrid does occasionally come out, but she has no identity of her own, which is hard if you want to function in daily life as an adult.
In case we get readers who do not know us, I’ll say a little about our situation. At the moment, we reside in a mental institution. We have a wonderful husband of 1 1/2 years who visits us a few times a week and whom we spend (part of) the week-ends with. Besides our trauma-based conditions, we are autistic and blind. The parts vary in their degree of autism and some don’t acknowledge our blindness. We have been lookign for a qualified therapit for a while, because our regular therapist doesn’t have experience with DID. Earlier this year, we thought we’d foudn someone, but she ended up being unable to take on new clients. We’re now on someone else’s waiting list.