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Open AccessArticle

Implications of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis: An Interview Study of How Physicians Experience the Diagnosis in a Young Child

1
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2
Center for Autism Expertise, UPC-KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
3
Department of philosophy, University of Antwerp, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(10), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7100348
Received: 21 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Psychiatry)
Clinicians are significant translators and interpreters towards parents of the abundant literature on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, how clinicians experience and view ASD and an ASD diagnosis is not well known. Sixteen physicians working with young children with a (presumed) diagnosis of ASD participated in a semi-structured interview. They described their professional view on ASD and an ASD diagnosis, and how they experienced its use in their clinical practice. Interpretative phenomenological analysis of the data revealed two main topics about physicians’ experiences: how they view ASD and an ASD diagnosis, and how they experience the implications of an ASD diagnosis. The latter topic comprised three themes: (1) the ASD diagnosis leads to a particular treatment trajectory and services; (2) ambivalence about how the ASD diagnosis impacts parents and child; and (3) psycho-relational functions of the ASD diagnosis. Physicians feel that some doubts and questions are inevitable when dealing clinically with ASD and an ASD diagnosis. They also perceive that there are certain risks associated with assigning the categorical ASD diagnosis to a young child. Altogether however, ASD is perceived by physicians as a useful and valuable diagnosis both because of treatment related consequences and of several psycho-relational implications. View Full-Text
Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; diagnosis; physicians; interviews; interpretative phenomenological analysis; experiences; psychological consequences; relational consequences autism spectrum disorder; diagnosis; physicians; interviews; interpretative phenomenological analysis; experiences; psychological consequences; relational consequences
MDPI and ACS Style

Jacobs, D.; Steyaert, J.; Dierickx, K.; Hens, K. Implications of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis: An Interview Study of How Physicians Experience the Diagnosis in a Young Child. J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7, 348.

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