If you child's teacher has met with you, and suggests that you should have your child evaluated for possible ADHD, here are the steps to take...
Step One: Find an EXPERT, and Get a Righteous DIAGNOSIS
Find a Psychologist, or a Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist, or a Psychiatrist, who has a good working knowledge of Attention Deficit Disorder – ADD ADHD.
Most mental health professionals do NOT know much about the disorder, even if they tell you that they do.
How to find the expert:
- Get some paper and prepare to make a list
- Ask parents at your local CHADD meeting about the best doctor and the best therapist in your area. These parents have already been down the road that you are on, and they know who is good, and who is a waste of time and money;
- Then call your local psychiatric hospital. Ask for the "Charge Nurse" at either the Children’s Unit or the Adolescent Unit. Politely ask the charge nurse who the best doctors and therapists for treating Attention Deficit Disorder that they know of are.
You now have some good names on your list.
Call the professionals on the phone and give them a two minute interview. Keep the phone call brief. They are busy people too.
Ask them questions such as:
- "What percentage of your practice is with Attention Deficit Disorder children or teens?"
- "How many years experience do you have in treating ADHD individuals?" "How many individuals with ADHD have you worked with?"
- "How do you do a diagnostic work-up for Attention Deficit Disorder?"
- "What treatment options are you familiar with in the treatment of ADD ADHD?"
Based on their answers you will know whether or not you will want to work with them.
Prepare yourself for meeting with them. Read this entire ADHD Information Library web site, including the articles and especially the "blog" section with our ADHD newsletter articles, and "up to the minute" ADHD news and information.
Also check out other ADHD sites:
- http://www.ADD101.com for basic information on Attention Deficit Disorder;
- http://www.ADDinSchool.com with 500 classroom interventions to help children and teens with ADHD succeed in school;
- the ADD Links Project with hundreds of links to ADHD and related sites;
- http://www.ADD-Products.com for the results of our studies showing the effectiveness of Attend vs. Ritalin.
Now you are ready to meet with them, and interview them.
If they seem to know more than you do (after you've spent time at these sites) then that is a good sign. If they seem to know less than you now do, then that is a bad sign. Why pay someone who knows less than you do?
Keep looking and find the Expert.
When you find him or her, do what they recommend -- and pay them what they are worth.
Make sure that you have a thorough assessment done, including at a minimum:
- parent interview,
- child interview,
- parent rating scales,
- teacher rating scales,
- and TOVA testing as appropriate.
Medical conditions, such as food allergies, environmental allergies, thyroid problems, head injuries, and more, should be considered and ruled-out.
Mental Health issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and depression should be considered, and ruled-out.
Emotional issues that could also be causing ADHD - like symptoms must also be ruled-out.
Read through our section on Diagnosing Attention Deficit Disorder - ADD ADHD, and review that information now if needed.
Use your best judgment, and talk with your doctor about these suggestions on getting help for ADHD.