Finding the Right Specialist for Your Child with ADHD

Who does what? Here's a rundown of the help available for diagnosing a child with ADHD or a learning disability like dyslexia.

Area of Expertise
Developmental/Behavioral Pediatricians
As the title says, they are specialty-trained in behavior and development—and are often the most overbooked doctors in town.
Child Psychiatrists
Physicians with subspecialty training in psychiatric disorders. Most kids enjoy their visits—beware the psychiatrist whom your child doesn’t look forward to seeing.
Pediatric Neurologists
Specialty-trained in the brain and nervous system. These are often the physicians who diagnose and treat ADHD. They will examine your child in great detail and will be strongly oriented toward sorting out medical problems that are not simply developmental differences.
Trained in the biological and neurological bases of learning and thought. They often give batteries of tests to assess cognitive and behavioral functioning that will serve as a basis for making recommendations about school placement and overall care of the child. The tests are the tool most likely to diagnose a learning disability.
They are not M.D.s. They primarily evaluate intelligence and cognition. School-based psychologists often identify the classroom accommodations that can be most helpful.
Occupational Therapists
They focus on muscle groups, like hand or facial muscles, or on the ability to tolerate sensations and stimulations. Children with illegible handwriting often end up seeing O.T.s. There is a subgroup of O.T.s who have special training in sensory integration.

This article comes from the October/November issue of ADDitude .

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TAGS: Diagnosing Children with ADHD

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