I have an 8-year-old daughter who has struggled with communication, behavior, and social skills since she was a toddler. She has been diagnosed with encopresis and we have been to see more specialists than I can count at this point. School doesn’t seem to feel there are significant issues, but she is having increasingly explosive behaviors at home on a regular basis. I’m getting conflicting messages about what is going on with her, and I’m frustrated because no one is giving a clear answer as to a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Help!
-Amy in Jackson, MI
I can certainly understand your frustration! Far too often professionals act in isolation and only look at their specific area of expertise, instead of looking at the big picture of what is going on with a child. It is very important to understand all of a child’s strengths and challenges, and determine the approaches and treatments that will best support the child’s development. It sounds like you haven’t had the opportunity to have a professional, or team of professionals, take a comprehensive look at your daughter in order to determine the underlying causes of her challenges and provide you with strategies to support her and your family as a whole. My recommendation is that you find a professional (or group of professionals) who can accomplish that for you.
Keep in mind that you have a right to let professionals know what you need at the start of an evaluation, and I’d encourage you to be very clear that you expect to leave the process knowing the steps you can take to help your daughter. When you are referred to someone for an evaluation or consultation of any kind, be proactive and ask questions about what the goal of the appointment is and what you can expect to leave with. This may prevent you from wasting time and money seeing even more clinicians who cannot meet your needs. If you’d like to discuss having an evaluation with our team at Horizons, please give our office a call so we can talk with you about the process and what you can expect.