Advice for finding a therapist for AD... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Advice for finding a therapist for ADHD daughter?

SparklingSmile profile image
16 Replies

Hi! I have a 9 year old daughter who likely has ADHD. She constantly feels like an outsider, like she doesn't fit in, like she isn't "good enough", like she is different. She is actively asking for someone to talk with -- a specialist who really understands what it's like to have a brain like hers. Thanks to COVID, I cannot find a therapist who has decent credentials who is taking on new kiddo clients. I've even tried an executive functioning tutor in the hopes that that would give her someone to connect with, but that person didn't see the ADHD in that particular setting b/c she was getting 1-1 attention from this coach with very fun activities that she could hyperfocus on. I've emailed so many therapists, followed up with phone calls, and left messages and they are all saying that they have full caseloads. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to break through the barriers and find a therapist? It breaks my heart that she is asking for help and I can't find it for her.

16 Replies
kdali profile image

Our pediatrician recommended a group for us to contact, maybe they could recommend who their clients like.

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to kdali

Thank you!

STEM_Dad profile image

If your child is in public school, you may be able to get a referral through the school for an assessment by an educational psychologist.

About 20 years ago, I worked at a charter school, and my first job there was as an office aide in the special education department...and it was my job to schedule those assessments.

However, it's most likely that students who are struggling in school or regularly misbehaving would be the ones to receive such an assessment though a school...but as a parent, you could ask about it.


Regardless, I suggest that you (and your daughter) keep a journal about her struggles and other ADHD-like attributes.

As you noted, hyperfocus on activities that she finds interest in is definitely ADHD-like behavior!

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to STEM_Dad

Thank you so much! She is so adept at masking at school that her teachers aren't convinced that she shows signs of ADHD. But we see it every day, and other people who have gotten to know her during "down time" at home see it clearly. It just seems like maintaining the mask is really starting to cause her a ton of stress. Maybe it's time to ask the school if they could do the assessment... I really appreciate your suggestion!

STEM_Dad profile image
STEM_Dad in reply to SparklingSmile

I'll bet she's very bright.

Many people who are trained to work with children with ADHD, including teachers, school counselors, and even doctors, can be swayed by a child's intelligence to declare that they don't have ADHD.

Girls are overlooked far more often than boys are, even if they have Hyperactive-Impulsive traits. After all, girls might exhibit as being talkative, and gesturing when they talk...which are often considered stereotypical "girl" behavior.

Inattentive children are often considered just to be shy, introverted, wallflowers. Boys with Inattentive ADHD can often be overlooked. Girls with Inattentive ADHD are overlooked much moreso.

A committed parent like you can be a great advocate for a child like your daughter. Do your best to model, teach and encourage her to be an advocate for herself, too. Because, when she's all grown up, she'll have be be her own first advocate.

(Btw- ADHD is highly inheritable. Either or both parents might have ADHD traits, or sibling, or any grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin.)


I am an Inattentive male. In school, only my first grade teacher made observations of my daydreaming (earliest observation of my ADHD on record). My sixth grade teacher was the only one who did anything to address my tendency to have missing or incomplete homework. However, it was the 80s, and understanding of ADHD (then called ADD) was only just starting to spread.

I had to get myself assessed after thirty years of struggles, at 45 years old. I'm now so glad that I did, but feel like my life could have been very different if I'd had even just better understanding of my ADHD, much less the medication, counseling and coaching I've had in the last two and a half years.

(One of my kids definitely has all of my ADHD traits about as severely as I do. My other three kids each exhibit ADHD traits, but less prominently. My dad definitely does, and my mom perhaps a bit. But neither of my brothers do. I have a lot of cousins, and I wouldn't be surprised that a few of them might have ADHD, but more likely Inattentive, like me.)

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to STEM_Dad

Thank you so much for sharing! All of your points are so spot-on...

Momtrying profile image

does the school counselor make time to have students come in during the day to talk? That could at least be somewhere to start having your daughter talk through some of her feelings with someone.

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to Momtrying

Yes, that's a good idea that I haven't tried yet. I'm on it!

Booksbooks profile image

if you have insurance it may cover the online pediatric therapy service called Also your school may have a counsellor she can speak to. If you have insurance also call to see if they can refer her to any services. Best of luck

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to Booksbooks

Thank you for these great ideas!

anirush profile image

I found our therapist of 5 years on Psychology Today referral site. She is wonderful.

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to anirush

Thank you--that is the website I've been trying, but no luck yet. I get the sense that therapists are a lot more in demand today than ever before...

Bootsie1 profile image

my son sees Dr. Ryan Sultan virtually. He is an ADHD expert.

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to Bootsie1

Thank you!

missbonafide profile image

I have a 6yo and found it hard finding a therapist but we lucked out when I decided to give Art Therapy a try and he’s been enjoying it. He’s I the younger side so it will take longer for him to open up. But he really loves going to his Art Therapist. Look into it. I found ours in psychology today. And she accepts insurance. We love her bc she’s also trained in CBT and EMDR so it’s not like she’s only doing art projects w him but she’s paying attention to how he responds to her questions. And she’s been able to give us support as a family too.

I look forward to seeing this relationship develop and as he matures he’ll have a place to go to and open up.

Art therapists are licensed. I think it’s called LCAT their credential.

Good luck!!

SparklingSmile profile image
SparklingSmile in reply to missbonafide

Thank you!

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