Has My Child Been Given The Correct Diagnosis and Best Treatment Options for Their Brain Based Challenges?
If you haven’t asked yourself these questions…you should.
Having worked for years with children, either in my clinic or in schools, with different brain-based disorders, such as Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) etc., I want to warn against what I feel is a rush to diagnosis by many health care professionals.
The numbers of children I have seen misdiagnosed are staggering, many of them put on neurostimulant medication, such as Adderall and Concerta, as well as sleep medication and given no other treatment options. Many children are evaluated in less than 30 minutes by a pediatrician, and or nurse practitioner, diagnostically labeled and given a prescription. Some of these children are as young as 3 and 4 years of age. This is irresponsible practice and many professionals are resistant to change this protocol for various reasons. But, it takes more work than handing out a prescription to achieve true, lasting and expansive changes in brain function for these children.
The nature of many of these diagnoses are complex, lending itself to overlap in symptoms and behavior clusters, making it next to impossible to sort out effectively during a mere office visit. The complexity of these disorders also means successful intervention will require more than simply taking a pill. I am not anti-medication. I am anti putting the child on medication before they are properly evaluated, diagnosed and given other options first.
I recommend questioning the need for neurostimulant medication and trying alternative treatment for at least a 3-month period prior to giving medication a try. Don’t be hypnotized into the quick fix. Although possible, quick fixes rarely occur. There are many movement/play based therapies, such as occupational and physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and things you can do with your child on your own that are safer, more impactful and with more positive and longer lasting effects than medication. If your child is already on a neurostimulant, ask for referrals for alternative therapies and educate yourself about what you can do with your child.
I have met so many parents trying to do what’s best for their child, putting faith in what the professionals have been telling them, yet confused about why they aren’t getting anywhere. If this has been your experience you need to find other resources for your child. A good place to start is requesting a referral to a well-respected developmental pediatrician and engage your child in lots of movement and play activities. Find an occupational therapist or physical therapist in your community who specialize in working with children with sensory challenges. Ask around and find out who is good. Many times the best referrals are word of mouth.
Take the bull by the horns, demand the referrals and find your own experts. Do the search and do not settle.
I am positive parents can find the best answers for their children armed with knowledge and the power knowledge brings.
Educate yourself, advocate, find the best resources, question everything and spend time doing the hands on stuff you can do to make positive changes with your child.
In-Tuned™ wants to help empower you to make a huge difference in your child’s life. Send me a note so you can be put on the e-mail list for future blogs and resources at firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Grover-Barrey OTR/L, CHT
Founder of In-Tuned™