“As the parent, it’s up to you to find the resources necessary to nurture and support your child(ren) in growing through ADHD.” – Audrey
Once ADD/ADHD is suggested by the school, the primary care physician should be the first resource consulted beyond the school. Be aware that some schools have a psychologist who may have seen the child by the time the school reaches out to the parents. Once the school report is released to the physician, he/she can screen the child with a tool to assess symptoms of the disorder and refer you to a psychologist for testing and counseling to substantiate or refute the school’s concern.
If the results of the evaluation(s) by the school and the outside psychologist are consistent, then medication may be considered and initiated. When the primary care physician prescribes medication, regular follow-up is required to review the effects of the medication and make adjustments as necessary. Multiple studies have shown that the best results in treating ADD/ADHD happen when medication and counseling are used together. Thus, parents should expect an ongoing relationship with these professionals.
At this important juncture, it is essential that school staff who interact with the child (including the school psychologist), the outside psychologist and the primary care physician, along with the parents, are all operating as a seamless team for the benefit of the child. This can only occur if release forms are signed by the parents to allow these individuals and entities to talk to one another. This is also necessary to accurately develop the individualized educational program (IEP) for the child.
If you have no insurance or limited coverage, medical services and psychological services can be obtained at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) or municipal and county clinics, which usually have both medical and psychological services. You can also refer yourself and your immediate family to an employee assistance program (EAP) if this benefit is available through your employer. An EAP offers employees assistance with personal problems that can impact their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
As a last resort, testing can be obtained through the school. However, getting tested there can take up to one-half the school year to be completed and the IEP developed. The IEP is reviewed and revised yearly when the team is assembled to assess the child’s educational progress.
One of the scariest things to consider, especially as a person of color, is to have one more “label,” especially one that is considered negative. It’s one of the reasons people refuse to go to counseling and refuse to get tested when it’s clear something is off. Focus on the well-being of the child instead of the label.
Finally, getting to the root of the “issue” of whatever may be happening is the key to creating healthy behaviors, focused children, managed expectations and accountability, laying the foundation for lifelong success.
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Audrey and Larry Jones would love to meet your group in person or provide a written interview for your blog! They are also available for Internet radio interviews.
Purchase Falling Through the Ceiling by Audrey and Larry Jones, MD
Keywords: Nonfiction, Parenting, Relationships, Family, ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Adult ADHD, Childhood ADHD
About the Author
Audrey Robinson Jones left Kansas to attend Wellesley College, graduating in 1972 with her degree in anthropology/sociology, planning to be a social worker. Instead, she worked in healthcare administration for almost 30 years with her husband, including running his multi-office pediatric practice for 24 years. She also earned master’s degrees in healthcare administration and business.
She became managing partner of an airport concessions company and purchased two business franchises with her sons. At the same time, she and her husband built a loving home with three sons. As life unfolded, her sons and husband were diagnosed with ADHD. Managing businesses and four ADHD males took its toll on her health.
In 2008, Audrey was stricken with an almost fatal autoimmune disease. Recovering and retired, Audrey remains a vital force, including participating with Larry in several international health missions trips. At home, she continues to lead a local food pantry, something she’s done for over fifteen years, in addition to family advocacy activities.