Aptos Psychologist: More how parents can help kids with ADHD & Autistic Spectrum problems …



The overall goal is to get everyone on the same page: you as parent, MD, therapist, regular ed and special education teacher(s), school nurse, school psychologist, and any government agencies that are involved (e.g., County Mental Health, Child Protective Service for children in foster care).

Unfortunately, what often happens is that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. You as parent need to get in the driver’s seat and see that all the “horses” – school, professionals, hospitals, government agencies — move ahead in the right direction.

And that should include that everyone knows what the others have learned. So, make sure that Releases to share information are signed so everybody can communicate, receive records and communicate.

Here’s an example
. An elementary school child is in foster care and receives services through Child Protective Service and County Mental Health. To clarify diagnosis the County wants the child to go to nearby Stanford Hospital (LPCH). So what needs to happen? Hopefully, CPS and County Mental Health will see that their mental health records together with the the child’s pediatric MD records and appropriate school records accompany the referral.

Another example: You as parent have concerns and go to your pediatrician. The pediatrician thinks that your child needs additional assessment and your doctor refers to a large, near by hospital complex (UC-SF, Stanford Hospital, Kaisier Permanente). Be sure that you as parent take along with you all relevant school assessments, school grades, and medical records. Get all the players on the same page. And be sure that all the players can talk to each other and exchange information.

Here’s some general ‘how to’ directions for parents of a child with ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD):

Start with a physical exam by your pediatrician to make sure there are no physical reasons for child’s problems with concentration, attention, focus and organizational problems.

Next, get appropriate assessment of your child for symptoms of ADHD and Executive Functioning abilities. Some pediatricians and psychologists are trained to do appropriate assessment.

Have your MD or psychiatrist write a brief letter to child’s school.
The letter needs to state that the child is under the care of ____ doctor (MD) or psychologist (Ph.D.) and that it is the professional opinion of _____ that the child’s educational performance is significantly impacted by ____ and ____.

Take several copies of the letter from your doctor to your child’s school. Be sure that copies go to: school nurse, teacher, school psychologist & principal.

Make sure that the letter from MD or psychologist including diagnosis of ADHD or Autistic Spectrum is part of your child’s regular education CUM file. That way the school nurse can monitor as needed.

In a separate letter addressed to Special Education at your child’s school (include child’s date of birth, complete name of child, address, telephone number, email address,) ask that your child be identified as Other Health Impaired student. Ask for appropriate assessment by the school. Also ask for a 504 Plan available under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Be sure to date that letter and keep original in your file.

If you do not hear back in two weeks send another copy (with a Second Copy in red) to the school principal and child’s teacher. Typically the second letter gets a quick response.

Of course, be polite and understanding and remember that in these times of substantial change in the economy every school dollar is stretched more than it was.

Your child with ADHD and Autistic Spectrum issues needs your guidance to successfully learn at school.

Contact Dr. Cameron Jackson DrCameronJackson@gmail.com


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