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How to Choose a Professional

(1999)

Finding the right person to make a diagnosis of LD or ADHD is an important first step. A diagnosis can be a gateway to services that can open doors to learning and a more fulfilling life.

You definitely want services from a professional who makes you or your child feel comfortable. But this is not enough. Here are some other points to keep in mind when deciding if a professional is right for you, your family, or your child.

  • Are you licensed?

    Many professionals can suspect LD and/or ADHD, but all are not licensed or certified to diagnose the disorders. When you go to a person in a private practice (not in the school system), it is important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD or ADHD. See the helpful article on LD OnLine called "Who Can Diagnose LD and/or ADHD?" Most states require the license of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and lawyers to be in clear view. As you are searching for professional help, you will probably also come across many different titles and degrees. These include Ph.D., M.D., MA, Psy.D, L.C.S.W., or Esq.

  • What areas do you specialize in?

    Find out if the professional specializes in learning disabilities, ADHD, behavioral disorders, or another area.

  • What are your fees?

    Ask the professional what their hourly rate is and how an hour is defined. Some professionals use a 45 or 50 minute hour. This is so they have time to write notes about the session for their files before the next client arrives. Also ask if they have a sliding fee scale or if they will set up payment plans.

  • Will you accept my insurance or HMO coverage?

    Also ask if the professional will directly bill your insurance company.

Once you've established the basics, here are some other points to keep in mind:

  • What range of services do I need?

  • Do I need someone just to do testing or do I need someone who can also work with the school?

  • What information can I gather to help with the diagnosis?

    School records, work samples, past assessments, and teacher comments are often very helpful.

  • Do I want to interview more than one professional to determine the best one for my needs?

    Unless you have a strong recommendation from a close friend or from the school, it is wise to interview more than one professional before making a selection.

The LD OnLine Yellow Pages list many professionals who can help diagnose LD or ADHD. You can also find names of professionals from local phone books, schools in your community, and other referral agencies.