Finding the Right Fit for Your Special Needs Child is Important
When you have a child with special needs, finding the right specialist is important and hard to do. Children with disabilities sometimes need multiple specialists, for specific concerns like autism or ADHD, to more general concerns like developmental disabilities. Whether you are looking for that first diagnosis or not, you should always strive to follow four basic steps to ensure you are finding the right fit for your child and family (not to mention insurance).
Breaking it Down: Steps to a Specialist Who is Right for Your Special Needs Child
Whether you are looking for a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, or a genetic disorder, finding the right specialist for the job is the first step. Ask your child’s pediatrician or research the type of specialist you need first. For example, some psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing autism, but a neuropsychologist could diagnose a wider variety of neurological disorders, including learning disabilities, ADHD, and more.
This brings us to the second step, after picking the type of specialist you need for your child, use all your available resources to research. Research:
- Which specialists are covered under your insurance plan; make sure to include a local list of those specialists. (call your customer service number for help if you need it)
- Do an internet search for each doctor’s name, and see what other parents of children with disabilities had to say about their service – look for reviews.
Your third step is to evaluate the results of your research.
- Narrow your choices to your top three and call the provided office numbers. Ask to speak to the person who can answer questions about “if this specialist would be the right one for my special needschild.”
- When you talk with someone, or they call you back, make sure that they know what your child needs from the specialist. Is it a diagnosis of learning disabilities? Is it ongoing care for a disability or condition thathas already been diagnosed? Are you looking just for a second opinion?
Your fourth step, and the one most people forget or ignore, is to pay attention to how your contact answers your questions about whether their office is the best fit for your special needs child. Listen to any questions they ask you and answer them completely – this tells you a lot about how well they can help you and your child.
Remember: You Know Your Special Needs Child Best!
Never ignore your gut instinct here. If, after all your research and phone calls, you still have trouble finding the right specialist to help you, whether you are looking for a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, or something else entirely, you want an office that will treat you with respect and treat your questions as important.What are some of the biggest obstacles you have had to address when finding a specialist for your child? Do you have something to add that might help another parent?