Diagnostic Assessment

  • Huijun Li
  • Melissa Pearrow
  • Shane R. Jimerson
Part of the Developmental Psychopathology at School book series (DPS)


As indicated in Chapter 1, early onset schizophrenia (EOS) cases appear before age 18 (Remschmidt, 2002), meeting the diagnostic criteria established for adults. The diagnostic assessment of EOS can be challenging for mental health professionals. First, many symptoms of EOS may also appear in other psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, autism, depression, or anxiety. Second, some warning signs or at-risk behaviors of EOS can last several months or a few years as nonspecific psychological, behavioral, emotional, and social disturbances of varying intensity, and sometimes they can be difficult to distinguish from characteristics related to normal child or adolescent development (Woods, Miller, McGlashan, 2001). Third, parents, teachers, social workers, psychologists, or primary care doctors may not be familiar with symptoms or warning signs of EOS. And fourth, stigma associated with this debilitating illness creates reluctance and delay in active help seeking. A diagnosis of schizophrenia is usually made by a child psychiatrist based on the DSM-IV-TR criteria (APA,). However, school psychologists are on the frontline in detecting at-risk behaviors for severe mental illnesses like EOS. Knowledge of the EOS diagnostic criteria, symptom onset, developmental course, and assessment instruments is essential in establishing an accurate diagnosis.


Negative Symptom Psychotic Symptom Mental Health Professional Positive Symptom Pervasive Developmental Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huijun Li
    • 1
  • Melissa Pearrow
    • 2
  • Shane R. Jimerson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Public PsychiatryCommonwealth Research Center Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Counseling and School PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  3. 3.Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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