Working with clinicians

7 Steps for a Successful First Meeting With Your Child’s Specialist

By The Understood Team

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There are many types of specialists who work with kids who have learning and attention issues. Depending on your child’s challenges, he may work with more than one to build up the skills he needs to succeed. These professionals might include speech-language therapists, reading specialists, occupational therapists, child psychologists or neuropsychologists, and organizational coaches.

It’s important to set up a good relationship with anyone who’ll be working closely with your child. And that relationship starts at your very first meeting. Here are some key steps to take when you first meet with a specialist.


Do your homework.

Go online and research both the specialist and the type of work she does. Look at her educational background, training and certification. You can also reach out to other parents who’ve worked with her.


Gather your materials.

The specialist will need as much information as possible about your child. This includes evaluation results and your child’s IEP, if he has one. You might also provide standardized test scores and samples of your child’s work.


Come prepared with questions.

Write down a list of questions before your meeting. The specialist may answer some of them during your conversation. But it’s important to leave with all the information you need—even if you have to ask more than once.


Be prepared to answer questions.

The specialist is likely to have questions for you, too. She might ask about family history, your child’s health history, what you’ve observed, and what the teacher has seen. Be as specific as possible in your answers.


Discuss the specialist’s approach.

Not all specialists in a given field approach their work the same way. Ask the specialist how she typically works on the types of challenges your child has. What strategies does she use? How does she measure progress?


Ask what your child can expect.

It’s vital that your child have a good relationship with the specialist, starting on day one. Find out exactly what they’ll be doing in his first session. And ask for suggestions on how to explain it to your child.


Discuss next steps.

At the end of your meeting, you’ll have a lot to think about and process. But before you leave, remember to ask what happens next, and what, if anything, you’ll need to do. You’ll want to be prepared, just like you were for this initial meeting.

For more ideas, read advice from experts on working with doctors and specialists.

About the Author

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

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