Tomorrow at 9 am is Alexi’s first visit to the psychiatrist at CPRI. I’m a little anxious about it. Fortunately, his counselor from OECYC is going to meet us there. That’s going to be a big help. I don’t want to forget anything.
For those of you who are just starting to deal with children’s mental health professionals here’s a few tips that I find helpful:
- Remember, these people are not the enemy. They are there to help you.
- Also remember, you are the expert about your child – they don’t know what happens at your house so you need to be open with them so they can help your child and your family.
- Since you are the expert when it comes to your child you already know what works and what doesn’t work. Be open with the specialist about that information too. There’s no point in wasting anyone’s time on methods that have been tried and failed.
- Talk to your family members and the other parent’s family, find out if there is any history of mental illness in your families that neither of you know about. Share this information with the specialist.
- Bring any relevant medical paperwork with you to the appoint; letters of diagnosis, letters from your child’s teacher and/or principal; list of medications they are taking or have taken (including homeopathic remedies); list of organizations you are involved with (counseling, wraparound etc.); names of doctors, pediatricians, counselors, therapists that your child has seen; recent report cards; any insurance paperwork (in Ontario your OHIP card); IEPs; records of school meetings, etc.
- It can take a few meetings for both you and your child to be comfortable with the specialist. However, if that comfort level never comes there is nothing wrong with seeking the help of another specialist. Nothing will be gained for your child and your family if you do not trust the specialist.
Is there anything else that you can think of? Please share it here for other parents (and me!). The more knowledge we have, the more help we are to our kids. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.