Working with children as a doctor for ADHD can definitely be one of those “it takes a village to raise a child” situations. By that I mean it can take several different specialists depending on your child’s needs. Typically, what occurs is the parents will bring the child to the pediatrician, the pediatrician may or may not be comfortable diagnosing. If the Doctor does not diagnose your child, you may be referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed therapist to receive the formal diagnosis.
At this point if your child has further needed you may be referred to an Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, and or Speech Language Pathologist. A quick note on all of these specialists and where they fit in:
Pediatrician: The general practicing medical doctor specializing in treating children.
Psychologist: a licensed PhD with training in psychology, typically they have subset specialties and are do not prescribe medication. That is because it is not in their scope of practice. A psychologist will work with the child and family providing forms of talk therapy or similar forms of therapy to help your child.
Psychiatrist: A medical doctor with post-graduate training in psychology. These Doctors to prescribe medication unlike psychologists. They have advanced training in more invasive ways to help people with psychological disorders.
Occupational Therapist: Pediatric OTs typically specialize in helping address sensory processing needs and fine motor skills.
Speech Language Pathologists: SLPs are OTs that specialize in helping children with speech delays, disorders and true pathologies.
Physical Therapists: Pediatric PTs normally help with gross motor skills and balance and coordination.
Vestibular Therapist: This is a PT with training in rehabbing the vestibular system.
Vision Therapist: A vision therapist may be an OT, PT, Optometrist, and/or individual holding a certification in vision therapy.
Please keep in mind that the above list is not complete and can appear to minimize these specialist’s jobs.
At HML, as Functional Neurologists we fit in by helping guide the families we work with through this process. There is no book or guiding process on managing your child with needs and that is one role that we play. The other major part we play is providing Functional Neurological treatments that get down to the root cause of your child’s needs. A lot of what we do looks like PT, OT, SLP, sensory processing therapy, vestibular therapy, and vision therapy all in one. This is done because the research shows that if you perform as many therapies at one time as possible, the results are exponentially better. To learn more about the Functional Neurology process, see our other blog posts and descriptions of what we do and why we do it.