Going to the Doctor

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2003
Going to the Doctor
3
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 5:23pm
Hi, well, I've made an appointment with our family doctor to take my daughter in to be tested for ADD/ADHD. What can I expect and what should I ask the doctor and what will he ask me? This is all new to me and I'm really worried and confused and pretty much wondering where I've went wrong since both of my kids are homeschooled. My son is excelling in all his work. She's 10 and in 5th grade but is on a 3rd grade level. It was very difficult to get her to read and sometimes it's still hard for her on somethings. Also, if she is ADD what meds should be taken and what should I be in caution of? Thanks, Dana
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 6:15pm
Well, if you're going to a family doc or a pediatrician, and they know what they're doing - they're going to refer you right out the door to a neurologist, a psychiatrist or a neuropsych that does this testing. We were sent to the local Children's Hospital and it was done there over a series of visits.

The testing is a series of questionaires usually - that you will fill out at home, and that anyone else who has extended daily contact with her (any regular sitters, etc) will fill out. Then they will take them all and complile the information. It can get extensive from there.

Now as far as meds - there's nothing exact. They wouldn't just hand you a prescription when you go to this appointment. And if they do - RUN the other way and find a new doc! this is not something to just be handed a scrip for.

And if she's falling behind in her work and is not working to grade level, she could very well have a learning disability. Just giving her a screening for ADHD isn't going to fix that hon. I'd ask for a complete work up done by the school district as well (you should have access to this - but you'll have to fight hard!)- a screening for Learning disabilities - that's where I'd also move at the same time as this doc. appt.

Good luck

Ethel

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-31-2003
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 6:23pm
Dana

Go to ldonline.org. Once you get there, click on the ABC's of LD/ADD box at the top of the page (second from the left I think). If you scroll down you'll come to ADD, click on the highlighted area that says "ADHD". Here you'll find a plethora of information on ADHD that I think is really good for those just getting started on all this. For a paper specific to talking with professionals, you'll have to scroll down a bit. It starts out "Questions to ask the Professionals....." Personally, I don't think it is complete, but it'll get you started. Also, before seeing the Dr write down on paper all of your observations and concerns that have brought you to this point. Since you have been homeschooling you'll be an excellent resource for explaining the different approaches you have taken with your daughter, what worked (even if only a little or for a short time), and what didn't help at all, and even what has made things worse. Try to note the frequency of behaviors, and any time parameters that can be applied to behaviors (ex. when my dd was learning money skills, she could only recall the name of a coin and it's value for about 15 minutes after learning it, and that often took many repetition of What is this coins name, How much is it worth?) Try to note if she can follow multiple step tasks, and if so, is there a limit to the number of steps before she needs redirection or another explanation.

Your family Dr will not be able to diagnose learning disablities, or do a thorough psychological eval (it's my own personal belief that this should be a standard part of the diagnosis, and I'm not thrilled with the idea of general practioners or pediatricians that do not have advanced training in ADHD diagnosing it. But that is me) You may need to see a psychologist or neuropsychologist (better of the two for an educational assessment) for a more thorough assessment.

As far as meds, there is an excellent book called "Straight Talk about Medications for Kids" by Timothy Wilens MD. It'll give you lots of info on the meds, what they can and can't do, and so on. IF you get to the point of deciding to medicate or not, again, go in with a list of questions and concerns. Ask a lot of why questions (I should have said that if she is dx'd ADHD also, you'll want to know why, how did they arrive at that dx) Ask what the common side effects are, how long they typically last, which ones are more persistent? Which side effects require a call to the Dr right away and which can wait till the next day or next appointment. And if you begin treatment for ADHD, you want to ask what the treatment plan is. Is it just a med approach, counseling/behavior management, both, and why. Understand what symptoms are being targeted, and how long you should expect to wait to see improvement before another approach is tried. You may not get all the answers at one sitting. The Dr may not even have all the answers until treatment begins and the picture becomes clearer. But at least you want to be on the same page as the Dr as much as possible.

Good luck

Alicia
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2003
Thu, 09-25-2003 - 7:07pm
Thanks for all the help I really appreciate it. Some stuff she is really good in and others she's not. So, I'll take into consideration all the suggestions. Thanks, Dana