A Clinician by any other name…

Today’s autism vocabulary word is clinician.  I was not familiar with this word until we started the autism evaluation process.  Our son was evaluated by a group of clinicians.  What is a clinician, you say?  Well, apparently a doctor is a clinician but a clinician is not always a doctor.  Still confused?  Me too.  Basically what I can extrapolate from multiple definitions is that a clinician is a person who does business in a clinic versus a research facility.  For example, I teach cheerleading and dance classes.  Were I to hold one of these classes in a clinic,  I must therefore then be a dance and cheer clinician, right?  I have searched high and low for a medical doctor to evaluate my son so we can get a second opinion on his diagnosis.  I can’t find one.  The closest I have come in the University of Minnesota Autism clinic has a pediatric neurologist on staff.  I desperately wanted this person to see my son for an evaluation.  However, I am told that usually the neurologist only gets involved when a child requires medication.  The only person I can find which would seem to be the most qualified to diagnose autism is a neuropsychologist.  Our son was evaluated by a psychologist, not a neuropsychologist.  Another confusing question, what is a psychologist versus a neuropsychologist?  Well, it seems that a ‘clinical’ psychologist is someone that can assess, diagnose and treat psychological and mental health problems.  Whereas a neuropsychologist can assess, diagnose and treat psychological disorders associated with brain-based conditions.  Autism clearly falls under the latter.   After calling multiple autism specialty practices, I have found that almost all of them use a psychologist instead of a neuropsychologist to diagnose autism.  For me, that is a problem.  Right now, believing in autism is comparable to believing in Jesus and God.  I believe in Jesus and God because at a minimum there were eye witness accounts.  No one has ever seen autism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *