There are many channels you can take if you suspect your child may have learning challenges such as ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Most people would say to start with your pediatrician. You can get a referral from them. Maybe your pediatrician has a favorite doctor or practice they enjoy working with. But what if your pediatrician doesn’t agree with you that something is up? Then you go around him or her and do what you need to do!
That’s what I had to do a little over a year ago. I love our pediatrician, but this is one of the things we did not agree on.
The process I took started at our local Dyslexia Center, where they did a full work up with IQ testing. The woman there referred me to an ADHD specialist because my daughters initial IQ results were very low and I knew there was no way those results could be accurate. You can read our story on how we came to the Aspergers diagnosis. It wasn’t on my radar at all.
We ended up with a Spectrum Disorder Psychologists and we can see him as often or as little as needed.
When I recently took the kids in for their yearly physicals, the pediatrician left it up to me to decide if I want the Aspergers diagnosis to permanently go on my daughter’s record, and I’m not 100% sure that I do. She also suggested that I use the people she prefers at our children’s hospital for further testing if I decide to go that route. I figure I can take my time and decide if/when I wish to add this diagnosis to her medical chart.
I think most people prefer the full work up that a Neuropsychological examine offers.
I also think doctors these days look for signs of ADHD, Autism, OCD, SPD, ect in children at their well visits, but that doesn’t mean your doctor will always catch it. They see your child once a year, or maybe a few times a year for less than 30 minutes at each visit. You live with your child and you know him or her better than anyone else.
You can get your child evaluated without an Individualized Education Program, without going through the school district, and without a referral from your pediatrician. You are the parent and this is your child. You may have to do a little digging and researching on Google or asking friends, possibly asking online if anyone knows local places to have your child tested. Some insurance companies will pay for all of the testing or a portion of it.
The main thing I want parents to know is that there are options. I’m not saying that doctors are ignorant and should be ignored. It’s great when you can work alongside your doctor to make sure your child gets the help they need. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to go about getting your child diagnosed if you feel something is up.
Darcel White is the author of The Mahogany Way.