(BlackDoctor.org) — When Black parents see their child displaying typical hyperactive behavior, such as running around constantly and performing poorly at school, they may be concerned that the cause is ADHD — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — and want a diagnosis. But be prepared: An ADHD diagnosis does not always come easily and you certainly need to visit a doctor you can trust.
ADHD Diagnosis: Possible Practitioners
To get a diagnosis of ADHD, many families begin by talking with their pediatrician or family physician. Often this doctor will want the family to see a health care professional who has special training in ADHD.
There are different kinds of health care professionals trained to work with children with ADHD, including:
• Psychiatrists. A psychiatrist must have a medical degree and can prescribe medication if needed. Psychiatrists can also offer other therapy, such as counseling for the family and child.
• Psychologists. A child psychologist can also diagnose ADHD and treat it with supportive emotional therapy for the child and the family. Psychologists do not have medical degrees, so they need to work with a psychiatrist to have medicine prescribed, if it is necessary.
• Neurologists. These doctors can provide a diagnosis of ADHD and prescribe medicine, but most often will not be the health care provider who provides therapy.
• Clinical social workers. Social workers are not physicians, but they are well trained in providing an ADHD diagnosis as well as in family and child therapy. They, too, have to work with a physician to have any necessary medication prescribed.
No matter which kind of expert you or your family physician chooses to work with, ask if he or she has extensive training and experience in working with children who have ADHD.
ADHD Diagnosis: What to Expect
The expert will begin by interviewing you and your child to learn about the symptoms you are seeing at home.