Challenging Children: Getting Professional Help
In This Article:
- Consult your pediatrician.
- Call support group(s). Locate support groups on the Internet; then look for a local chapter in the telephone book. Or call the national organization for recommendations in your area.
- Call local mental health agencies. Start with your city or county health service. Ask them for names of private agencies as well.
- Do research--read books; seek information on the Internet.
- Survey professionals. Look for overlapping referrals:
- From your pediatrician
- From school
- From friends and knowledgeable acquaintances
- Interview professionals you might want to use.
- Trust your gut instincts. The professional (or professionals) you choose has to "feel right" or you may not have confidence that the diagnosis is correct, especially if you don't like it. If it doesn't feel right, you will be far less likely to follow the specialist's recommendations for treatment.
Assessment or Evaluation Components
Family Evaluation (with a social worker or other specialist)
|To determine what family dynamics, if any, may be contributing to the child's problem; suggest having a family behavioral modification|
|Psychosocial and school assessment (teacher or guidance counselor contact)||To assess child's peer functioning; determine academic and behavioral performance at school|
|Psychological testing (with a psychologist)||A broad group of tests that assess the child's emotional and cognitive (thinking) functioning|
|Neuropsychological testing (with a psychologist)||Extensive and specific tests to evaluate a child's thinking or information-processing abilities|
|Structured parent interviews||Detailed questions about your child's history|
|Medical assessment (pediatrician)||Physical examination and laboratory studies as indicated; suggested prior to using medications and when there are concerns about a medical contribution to the child's problem|
|Medication evaluation||Thorough history of the child and his or her current and past emotional and behavioral problems; review of above|
This table represents potential assessments for children with behavioral and emotional disorders. The evaluation process varies greatly dependent on the region of the country, the type of practice, and the circumstances of the child.
Adapted from "Table 2. Elements of the Psychopharmacology Evaluation Process," in Straight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for Kids by Timothy E. Wilens, M.D. (New York: Guilford Press, 1999), p. 56.
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From From Chaos to Calm: Effective Parenting of Challenging Children with ADHD and Other Behavioral Problems by Janet E. Heininger and Sharon K. Weiss. Copyright © 2001. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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