Advocating for your child

If your child has psychological, attention, or learning problems, you may feel unsure about what this means. Often others in your child’s social circle are unsure how to help, or may have difficulty recognizing that your child struggles given that disability conditions can be invisible. If your child is under 18 your involvement as a parent may be crucial to establishing support for your child’s success.  Here are some ways that you can advocate for your child:

  • Consider discussing your child’s diagnosis with the special education representative at their school. Your child may qualify for academic accommodations, modifications, or other special services.
  • If special education services are required, consider allowing your child to participate in meetings where accommodations or services are discussed. This will allow them to start learning how to advocate for themselves, and it will also help them to learn accessibility terminology that may be beneficial in the future.
  • Work to familiarize yourself with community resources for your child. There may be support groups for parents or children, scholarships, or free tutoring available. 
  • Be open to discussing your child’s concerns with medical professionals to ensure that they are aware of all medical treatment options that are available. Having a medical professional involved with on-going care can often help should a child need a doctor’s note or letter. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the etiology, symptoms, and course of yourchild’s disability. This can be done using recent texts or articles, consulting with other parents or teachers, and by contacting local support organizations.  Thisincrease in knowledge will help you to better know what is needed in any given situation.

Talking to kids about mental illness

Child LearningKids may be curious and have questions about their mental health or diagnosed conditions. Understanding mental illness can be a challenge for adults, let alone children.  Given the amount of misinformation, myths, and confusion regarding mental health issues, your child may be exposed to some of the stereotypes and stigma about mental illness.  The good news is that awareness of mental illness has increased dramatically and advances have been made in the diagnosis and treatment of these issues.  Here are some ways that you can support your child if they experience mental illness:

  • Ensure that you have a thorough understanding and are reasonably comfortable with the the problems being discussed.
  • Consider making a list of options for treatment that can be discussed with your child. Allow them to have input on what is decided. 
  • Find creative ways (i.e., examples, metaphors, videos) to explain your child’s condition.
  • Consider setting up a weekly or monthly meeting with your child to discuss any issues related to their mental health. This will also allow for both of you to monitor their symptoms over time.
  • Don’t forget to back up or slow down if your child becomes confused or looks upset

Assessment can help! 

A comprehensive assessment can shed light on any problems with learning, attention, or emotional functioning. Assessment is helpful in the following ways:

  • To determine an individual’s strengths and/or weaknesses
  • To assess for attention problems, executive dysfunction, or memory issues
  • To assess for difficulties in the areas of reading, writing, math, and/or processing speed
  • To clarify an individual’s learning style and optimal learning strategies
  • To determine whether an emotional/psychological disorder is present
  • To correct past misdiagnoses

Our testing reports include:

  • A comprehensive developmental, academic, occupational, and psychiatric/medical history
  • Behavioral observations
  • Assessment results and interpretations
  • Summary of findings
  • Diagnoses (DSM-5)
  • Recommendations

Resources For Parents and Children

 

  • The Utah Parent Center
    • 230 W. 200 S. Suite 1000 (Royal Wood Office Plaza)
    • Salt Lake City, UT 84101
    • 801-272-1051 or 1-800-468-1160 (Toll-Free)