Monday, February 4th, 2013
Whether it’s autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, we know that rates keep rising. We also know that not nearly enough kids get the help they need.
I’ve identified 5 barriers that make it tough for parents to get help for their kids:
Awareness: It’s important for parents to know the signs and signals of different disorders. All kids run around, may not always stay still, may not always pay attention. What’s the difference between that and warning signs of ADHD? How can you tell if a toddler is just somewhat unusual socially, versus showing early signs of autism? Early identification is critical because it is the first step of the process. Leaning on websites such as those offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health can help. But these can be tough to sort through as well. Here are two examples of blog posts I’ve written to help promote awareness:
Acceptance: Once a potential problem has been identified, it can be very tough for a parent to accept it. It’s natural to want it to just go away. But getting past that thinking is critical because you are the catalyst for helping your child take on the problem area.
Referral: Accepting that help is available is important – but finding that help can be challenging. You’ll need to network with your pediatrician and other professionals to get routed in the right direction. Word of mouth via other parents is always helpful because they’ve navigated the system.
Cost: You will need to be prepared to work with your insurance and your provider to get help for your kid. By “work” I mean investing time and energy and being persistent and asking everyone to be creative. It may also mean smiling a lot and being pleasant – and kicking up a storm when necessary. It’s your kid, they should get help.
Compliance: Once all these barriers have been taken on, you will find a long road ahead. It’s tough on you, it’s tough on your kids. It’s time and effort and possibly a fair amount of travel. It will take time away from other things. But it’s your kid, and the more effort you put in, the better. The one thing that sinks the process, more than anything else, is when parents and kids stop showing up.
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