Parents know their children with learning and attention issues best. Sometimes they disagree with doctors, therapists and other professionals about the best approach to helping their kids. If you find yourself in this situation, the advice offered here may help you resolve the problem.
Read up, but do it right.
You are your child’s best advocate. Some health-care providers, specialists and other professionals might not like it if you “Google it.” But books and online research can be useful tools in educating yourself. If nothing else, it helps you ask better questions. Try not to waste your time—or the provider’s—with resources that give questionable information. Seek information on this site and from other trusted resources.
Ask well-informed questions.
Once you do your research, you’ll be better equipped to ask specialists and providers questions. Perhaps you’ll have ideas about treatment plans. Before your next visit, print out questions to ask your child’s doctor and other specialists.
Knowledge is power. Good specialists will recognize the key role you play in your child’s treatment. They’re usually open to answering questions and partnering with parents in that way.
Ask for advice from parents in similar situations.
Parents who have children like yours are another great resource. Find them at school, in parent support groups and in our online parent community. They can tell you how they solved similar dilemmas with their kids’ therapists or other providers. Plus they can provide a “reality check” and help you decide if your expectations are too high. They might also share information on mistakes they’ve made with their providers—which can help you avoid making them yourself.
Seek a second opinion.
If you’re not satisfied with your child’s provider and his recommendations, it may be time to get a second opinion. A good doctor, therapist or specialist will respect your request and may give you a list of other professionals to see.
Other parents and your child’s pediatrician can also recommend providers they trust. You may find someone who is a better fit for your family. Or you may discover that your original clinician wasn’t as off base as you thought. Either way, you’ll learn more about how to help your child.
If you’re not sure how you feel about your child’s provider, this quiz can help you determine if he’s a good fit.
If you’ve made your best effort but still aren’t satisfied, it’s probably time to find a new specialist. Again, recommendations from other parents and the pediatrician can help a lot. The goal is to assemble a treatment team you can trust.
Make mutual respect a priority.
If you find yourself at odds with a professional, do your best to find a solution. Your goal is to advocate for what’s best for your child. Mutual respect between parents and professionals can be a powerful force in a child’s life.