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Diagnosis experiences with child emotional/behavioural difficulties

Diagnosis experiences with child emotional/behavioural difficulties           reply
28/01/2019 12:02 - Childrens Health
Hi there,

My name is Dr Cliodhna O´Connor and I am an Assistant Professor in Psychology in UCD. My team is currently running a research project (funded by the European Commission) called ´Prevalence and Experience of Diagnostic Shifts in Youth Mental Healthcare´ (PAEDS). We are searching for families with a child whose mental health or neurodevelopmental diagnosis has previously been changed, and who would be willing to tell us anonymously about their experiences.

For young people experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties, it is quite common that their diagnosis will change over the course of their engagement with mental health services. For instance, a child initially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder may later receive a diagnosis of ADHD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or vice versa). Diagnoses can be changed for many different reasons. Despite the frequency with which this happens, no research has explored how young people and their families experience these diagnostic changes. Our study aims to identify any challenges that diagnostic changes present for young people. We want to use this information to improve support to families during this potentially confusing time.

For our study, we would like to interview parents and young people across Ireland who have undergone a diagnostic change. We would like people to tell us, in their own words, how they felt when the diagnosis was changed and whether it was a positive or negative development in the young person´s life. All participation will be completely anonymous and confidential. This study has received ethical approval from the UCD Human Research Ethics Committee and the interviewer has been fully vetted by the Gardai.

By contributing to this study, you will help improve our understanding of young people´s experience of diagnostic changes and raise awareness of the challenges diagnostic changes can present. We hope to use the research to improve clinical communication of diagnostic changes and make the transition process easier for young people and their families. As a token of our appreciation for their time, we will offer participants a €20 One4All gift voucher.

If you have a child aged between 11-18, who has previously experienced a change in their mental health or neurodevelopmental diagnosis (i.e. original diagnosis removed/replaced/supplemented by another diagnosis), we would like to invite your family to take part in this study. To find out more about participating in the study, please send me an email at I will explain the study and answer any questions you may have.

Thanks in advance, and don´t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Dr Cliodhna O´Connor
Assistant Professor, School of Psychology & School of Medicine, University College Dublin.


Phone: 01 716 8612


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