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New Perspectives - Apr, 1998 Issue #51

Resource Consulting
by: Barbara T. Posner, M.A.
Katonah, New York

(The following is all quoted from her brochure. Her practice is based on helping parents through each stage mentioned here.)

Learning that your child has attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities can be overwhelming. Where do I begin? What is involved in making a diagnosis? What do the test results mean? What does the school need to know? What do I tell my child? 

Navigating the Mental Health Profession: There is no simple test or diagnostic procedure that can pinpoint A.D.D. Diagnosis is a complex, time-consuming process that must be directed by a team of experienced professionals. It is important for a parent to rule out other possible causes for the child’s symptoms. A full evaluation often includes: Family History. Developmental History. Teacher and Parent Observation Diaries. Physical exam, Hearing and Vision Tests. Educational and Neuropsychological Testing. 

Bridging the Gap from Evaluation to Recommendation: Treatment is also an interdisciplinary effort, requiring ongoing communication among members of the treatment team — parents, doctors, psychologists, therapists and teachers, among others. Interventions may include medication, as well as environmental, educational, and behavioral approaches. 

Parent Support and Training: Home life for a child with special needs can be challenging. Schedules are difficult to maintain. Sibling relationships are stressful. Mealtimes feel like skirmishes, and family outings seem impossible. At its worst, the marriage may be strained. Enlisting School and Teacher Support: The school environment is, of course, a major concern for the parent of a child with learning difficulties and A.D.D. It is critical to decide what classroom setting will be most beneficial, ranging from a regular classroom, to Resource Room support, to special education programs in either a public or private school. Options include: Classroom management accommodations for mainstream teachers. Tutoring. Resource Room. Special Education and BOCES programs. Alternative programs. Private schools. College programs for students with learning difficulties. 

Enlisting Community Support: The child with A.D.D. often has difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships. After- school activities, summer camp, and organized sports may also pose problems. Parents need to advocate for the child in these less-structured situations.

The parent of a special needs child often feels isolated and bewildered. Together we can maximize your effectiveness as a parent. Our goal is to create parent advocates for special children, who just happen to have special needs. 

Copyright © 1998, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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