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Lack of Support from Family Doctor
Q: My four-year-old son has displayed symptoms of ADHD for over two years now and the symptoms are getting worse. The mental-health worker and child psychologist are leaning towards an assessment of ADHD. The family doctor and the pediatrician say that my son only possesses attention-seeking tendencies and that I need to hone up on my parenting skills. My son and I are stuck in the middle of this mumbo-jumbo.
I'm tending to side with the mental-health worker and child psychologist. I recently asked my family doctor for a referral to another pediatrician and he said that he did not feel that it was necessary. With the child psychologist suggesting that we should plan to alert the school that my son will be attending next year, so that his behavioral issues can be addressed properly, I tend to think that the family doctor's opinion is wrong. What options are available to me? Who can I turn to for support?
A: It sounds like you really need the support of other parents who have been on this road. You don't have to do this all alone! First, see if you have a branch of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders) in your area. You can also look at the CHADD website for information. Many local CHADD chapters hold both support and informational meetings for parents and professionals. If you have a chance to talk to other parents or a chapter leader, they can steer you towards professionals who should be more helpful in meeting your (and your son's) needs. One of the classic characteristics of a child with an attention deficit is that the symptoms appear before school age. The mental health worker and child psychologist you have already been working with should be able to help get an evaluation started. You're very wise to want to get help now before he starts in a new school.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.