Help finding a therapist: Hi! I'm new... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

CHADD's ADHD Parents Together

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Help finding a therapist


Hi! I'm new and kinda lost. I'm hoping someone can please me. We had my son tested last year for ADHD. We received the test results the same week as the pandemic. He is 10 yrs old and in 4th grade. His pediatrician has him on Focalin XR since last summer, which I think helps some days and not others. He is the most amazing boy, he has a huge heart, loves sports, playing outdoors. He hates school and has the lowest self esteem ever. It breaks my heart. I know he needs to be in therapy, but I can't find a therapist. Between his age and the increase in demand for mental health services. I can't find anyone. Our school has no viable resources and I feel like I've tried every possible option I can find. What do I do? Does anyone has any suggestions of something I should look into. I know my son needs help and I feel very helpless not being able to help him.

12 Replies

We are excited to have you join us for this long journey!

Big hug for all of your effort and striving for more to help him.

I am not sure if you have a 504 plan in school for your son. A plan could really help him. Many of our children hate school because sometimes the demands are to much and some time they are not challenging enough. Having the educational plan can support him in weaker areas by allowing more time on assignments and better testing environments help a lot. Some parents have even requested alternative format when they know their child struggles in completing certain assignments( its about the learning not how it is formatted). Also, you can have written into the plan counseling. All schools are required to provide services that impact education and if there is a need for counseling then they provide it. Having counseling in school can help bridge that gap between the school and you so you don't have to struggle alone.

Do you have a 504 plan or IEP for him? If not ask the person that gave him the diagnosis to write a letter stating what your child needs in school and that will help a lot.

One last thing, self esteem is very vital to success, could you find a sport that could help build on these skills naturally. Our son has been doing Tae Kwan Do since he was 4 years old. It really has helped with so many needed qualities in life-self esteem is one of them. The other thing it has helped with is perseverance.

Also, there are many other types of medication, if for some reason the one he is on now is on and off, try another and see how it can help.

Good luck!

We actually do have a 504 for him. That was one of the 1st things I advocated for him once he was diagnosed last year. I actually requested the school test him and according to his teacher (at the time) and the school psychologist they didn't think he qualified for any help. That was when we decided to find a certified psychologist who gave the diagnosis of ADHD. My sons teacher this year has been very understanding to his needs and tried her best to accommodate his needs. She actually emailed me today that she is getting him a standing desk! I don't feel like the school counselor is much help.

We are going to his pediatrician tomorrow. I will discuss his meds then.

Thank you so much for all your suggestions!!

Could you speak to the 504 coordinator? It helps to have someone outside of the school staff help advocate for services he needs. Let us know how the dr. Appt. Goes

Sounds like you are doing a great job advocating for your son.

We are so lucky you have joined us.

That's a great suggestion. I'm not actually sure who the 504 coordinator is this year. There has been a lot of changes this year due to remote learning and shifting of staff. Previous years I have always been part of our elementary school community. I'll reach out to the school today.Thank you.

Redpanda5 in reply to Mof2boys

Welcome! It is good that you have a 504 plan! You know what is even better? That his teacher is accommodating! It sounds like she is all over this and she is one of your most important resources so this is very good. What I have found is that teachers like this are sponges for suggestions. I always make sure I approach them with the utmost respect and attitude of “how can I support you?” and “Doing X may work; can we try that?”

Do lots of reading and research (this board is good to scan) and the things you think might work suggest to the teacher. She is the person who will help you fine tune the plan for him. Make note of the things that work then tell the school so they can officially add them to his 504 plan. ***This is important to do so next years teacher will be required to do them (especially if they’re not as helpful).

Make a detailed list of his specific challenges. Is he struggling academically (poor grades)? Keeping up? Having trouble transitioning from one subject to another? Overwhelmed by the workload? If so, have him tested for an IEP to replace the 504 plan. If his standardized test scores are low this can help get the plan. Schools live by those test scores. If you’re not familiar, an IEP is an academic plan that is tailored specifically to your child (trimmed down assignments, a safe place to go when overwhelmed, getting the teacher notes instead of having to take notes, etc).

Be thankful for this wonderful-sounding teacher! They can make or break the process. You’re doing a great job advocating for your son. Keep going!

Mof2boys in reply to Redpanda5

We are so thankful he has a wonderful teacher that really understands him. We weren't so lucky last year and we saw the repercussions. That is a great idea to keep a detailed list. I'm not sure why I haven't done that already. I'll start compiling a list and I'll also reach out to his teacher to see what she can add. Thank you so much for the help!!

So glad he is getting help. Our son is in occupational therapy (private and insurance covers some) now that helps him with managing anger and etc. We are also on our 6th medication of trying for ADHD. We are blessed that our pediatrician told us its a guessing game with the medication and stick with it til we find the one that works the way we want it to. Some gave belly aches and some caused moodiness with sadness and aggression. One was the one your son is on. It does break hearts when your child is having mental difficulty. We also did vision therapy to strengthen his eyes because that was an issue sitting and doing work for periods of time. His eyes would jump around causing him to move to accommodate. And lastly, while he was being diagnosed we took him to a psychiatrist to rule out underlying issues. He was adopted and I needed to make sure we were doing all we needed to with that area. He did an iq test after speaking with him and he is really smart which makes him "aware that something is just not right that can cause confidence issues later." He then suggested medicine immediately since nothing else was working. This is just our experience and if we learned anything its never give up. Fight for our kids to have a good and healthy life so when they grow up they can be all that they were meant for.

Thank you for your insight. It's so nice to know there is support community where I can ask questions. I agree, we have to fight for our kids. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job!

It is great you are addressing this when he's still pretty young. The psychologist we use has been very helpful, and he was just telling us that his colleagues have been very busy with new clients and there is a definite shortage of mental health professionals. It's very unfortunate timing but maybe that will change over the next year too. It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I'd suggest you look into ADHD friendly tutors if you can -- it's been helpful to our son and he's feeling more on top of schoolwork. It's super important to find one who deals with ADHD - and knows all the tricks. We have found the medicine isn't so great at managing the executive functioning issues so common with ADHD.

I agree it's heartbreaking to see them hurting but you are doing all the right things -so Bravo to you. Keep trying to find a therapist for him, maybe ask the school or his teacher (who seems awesome!) often they have friends or know of people with availability. They are usually not cheap so that's a challenge. I did find the school counselor to be good, but they are often dealing with really tough situations and ADHD kids can take a backseat.

Mof2boys in reply to bria18

I'll be honest, I didn't know there are ADHD friendly tutors. That is something I will definitely look into. Yes, I agree. We have found that medication isn't helping with his executive functions and self-regulation skill. Thank you for the suggestions. I appreciate all the help!!

I got on Psychology Today's website and found the therapist we have been using for three years. She is fantastic. She was actually interning and had to have so many hours to get her license so was trying to build up a clientele. She is a school counselor, too, and does this in the evenings which is perfect for us.

I did reach out to a few that I found on Psychology Today last week. I haven't heard anything, yet.

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