ADHD: Assess your Child’s Symptoms and Choose a Specialist
CHOOSING A SPECIALIST TO TREAT ADHD
When attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) occurs in children, it may make them have difficulties such as facing challenges when in school and in social situations. They, therefore, need comprehensive treatment.
The pediatrician will advise you to see some other mental health and education specialists. The different specialists that can help in the management of a child’s ADHD include:
PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR
This is the first response doctor. The primary care doctor for a child with ADHD may be a general practitioner (GP) or a pediatrician. They should be seen once there is a suspicion that the child has ADHD.
If a diagnosis of ADHD has been made by the doctor, they will prescribe medications. The child may also be referred to a mental health specialist such as a psychologist or psychiatrist who will then counsel the child and assist in dealing with symptoms by developing coping mechanisms.
This is a mental health specialist who possesses a degree in psychology. They offer psychotherapy and provide social skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy. They assist the child in managing the condition by being aware of their symptoms and testing their IQ level.
In certain areas, psychologists are allowed to prescribe drugs to treat ADHD. If these psychologists are practicing where they are not being allowed to prescribe the medications, they will then refer the child to a specialist who can prescribe medications.
A medical doctor who has had training in the treatment of mental health conditions is a psychiatrist. They are able to diagnose ADHD, prescribe medication, and give counseling therapy to the child. It is better to look for a psychiatrist who is experienced in treating children.
PSYCHIATRIC NURSE PRACTITIONERS
A psychiatric nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has received advanced training either at the masters or doctoral level. They have been licensed and certified by the state where they are practicing.
In addition to making a medical diagnosis and also conducting other therapeutic interventions, they are also allowed to prescribe drugs.
ADHD diagnosis can be made by nurse practitioners who are licensed and certified in the area of mental health, they can also prescribe drugs to treat this condition.
A social worker is professional with a degree in social work. They assist the child in coping with challenges in daily life. For example, the child’s behavior pattern and mood can be assessed. After that, they help to develop coping mechanisms to manage the condition and be proficient in social situations.
Social workers are not allowed to make prescriptions but can refer the child to a doctor who can give a prescription.
SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST
Most children with ADHD have speech and language difficulties. If this is so for your child, you may be referred to a speech-language pathologist that will help teach your child about how to communicate efficiently in social conditions.
A speech-language pathologist also assists the child to gain better planning, organization and learning skills. They may also work alongside the child’s teacher to help boost the child’s school performance.
HOW TO LOCATE THE RIGHT SPECIALIST
It is essential to find a specialist that both you and your child are okay with. You may have to do some research before you arrive at the right person.
To begin, ask your child’s primary care doctor to make some recommendations to specialists. You can seek support by talking to parents that have children with ADHD too or ask your child’s teacher or school nurse to give recommendations.
The next thing to do is to call the health insurance company to find out if the recommended specialists or the ones you have in your mind are in their network of coverage. Else, ask your insurance company for a list of in-network specialists around your area.
Proceed to call the therapist you want and inquire about their practice. You may ask them questions like:
- The years of experience they have working with and treating children with ADHD
- The preferred methods for treating ADHD
- The process involved in making appointments
You may need to sample a variety of specialists before you get the right fit. The person chosen is someone that your child should be able to trust and talk with openly. If a treatment session begins and your child does not seem comfortable with the specialist, you may have to change the specialist because your child needs to be relaxed for treatment to occur well.
If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you will be better off seeing a mental health specialist. Talk to your doctor if you experience symptoms of chronic stress, anxiety, or other concerns. They can refer you for specialist care particularly if there is a need to.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.