When Should Your Child Be Seen
One of the more common reasons parents come to the clinic is because of significant changes to a child's behavior. Sometimes that is acting out behavior sometimes its children who don't want to listen or follow directions on a fairly persistent basis. Often those are school related behavioral concerns. Maybe the school is expressing concern regarding a child who can't pay attention, having difficulty maintaining focus, maybe their grades have dropped. Other parents are calling our clinic because of significant emotional concerns, maybe a teenager who is presenting as depressed or who is expressing some concerns with peers or social concerns.
A lot of parents come to the clinic for what we would consider to be fairly short tem issues. Toddlers who won't sleep, kids having severe tantrums, all kinds of unique specific issues that are fairly short lived in our opinion but of significant concern to parents.
What are the first steps you should take?
I always recommend that parents talk to their child's pediatrician if they have some behavioral concerns or concerns about their child's change in mood or grades. Often times pediatricians have very effective advice and helpful information that can help resolve and address a lot their concerns. If they've talked to their pediatrician and the problem continues for a while and they're seeing it across different environments its more helpful I think for the child and for the family if the parent seeks services sooner than later.
A lot of times parents hope the problem will go away on its own and its just going to get better by itself, and sometimes it does. But if it doesn't I would encourage parents to seek help. Psychologists are a lot more effective intervening early and before the problem has become more significant or has persisted and lasted for a long period of time. If we are able to work with the family earlier than later I think we're able to be more effective and it results in us spending less time working with the family and the child.