Even with loving parents and caring therapists, a child whose diagnosis came too late can lose the fight

‘We also don’t have genetic markers yet for any of these illnesses; we don’t have blood tests, so a lot of the diagnosis is based on observation and interviews,’ said Jill Emanuele, a psychologist in New York and senior director of the mood disorders centre at the Child Mind Institute. ‘The other challenge in diagnosing children is that they change really fast, so the presentations of their illness can change pretty quickly.’ A child brought in to a psychologist at age six with symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity might be diagnosed with ADHD, but the same symptoms might lead to a diagnosis of depression in a 13-year-old.