- Cynthia Yoo
HOW to Seek Additional Support for Your Child
Seeking a qualified professional
Once you decide to seek additional support for your child, it’s important that you find someone who is trained in supporting children AND in the areas that your child is struggling with. No professional is an expert across all ages and all areas of functioning. A qualified professional can help you and your child accurately understand what’s going on, rule out other possible explanations, and provide your child with appropriate intervention strategies that effectively support their needs.
There are several ways you can proceed:
Speak with your child’s doctor and request a referral to a qualified professional (e.g., paediatrician or psychiatrist).
Find a qualified professional to support your child's specific daily challenges. This may involve seeking the support of an occupational therapist, a speech-language pathologist, and/or a tutor.
Have your child complete a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment to examine their cognitive, academic, social-emotional, and behavioral functioning. This process typically involves the completion of parent and teacher interviews or questionnaires, a review of your child’s records (e.g., health, developmental history, education), individual testing sessions with your child, and/or the direct observation of your child in their natural setting. When the assessment is complete, you will receive a report and a consultation session to help identify your child’s strengths, challenges, needs, and appropriate recommendations to maximize your child’s learning, developmental capacities, and overall success. An assessment will further identify whether your child meets criteria for a diagnosis (e.g., Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, giftedness, learning disability, anxiety, social-communication and/or behavioral diagnosis).
Have your child complete a targeted assessment depending on your family history and presenting concerns (e.g., ADHD or ASD). An assessment will identify whether your child meets criteria for the diagnosis you are inquiring about and, if they do, can open the doors for your child to access funding and/or school accommodations to support their ongoing challenges and needs.
Find a qualified counsellor/psychologist to support your child’s developing sense of self while exploring strategies to help them understand, address, manage, and/or resolve their ongoing challenges. The younger your child is, the more your active participation will maximize their therapeutic outcomes.
Get in touch with some professionals, ask lots of questions around their expertise and how they can help your child, and move forward with a qualified professional that you feel would be a good fit for you and your child. All children have the capacity to learn and grow. With timely and appropriate intervention support, you can help to decrease your child's obstacles and increase their positive outcomes.
Invest in your own self-care
Remember to prioritize your own self-care as you continue to support your child. This involves daily self-care as well as joining/forming your own support network of other parents who you can relate to in your parenting journey. It takes a community to raise a child. Reach out to other parents. Ask if they have any recommendations for qualified professionals that they know or have heard about. We all need other people to consult with and collaborate with when things get tough - parenting is no exception. Give support and receive support from like-minded parents. You are not alone.
- Written by Cynthia Yoo, Registered Psychologist -
Childmind Institute - resource for mental health and learning disorders
Understood - resource for learning and attention issues
CanLearn Society - helping children, youth and adults with learning, literacy, attention and related mental health challenges