For any child with emotional or behavioral problems, an evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist is appropriate. The evaluation will involve several office visits for the child and parents. Other significant people – school personnel, family doctor and relatives – might be included if helpful.
The evaluation frequently involves:
- Details of present problems and symptoms
- Background on health, illness and treatment (both physical and psychiatric), including current medications
- Health and psychiatric histories of parents and family
- Details on the child’s development, school and friends, family relationships
- Interviews of the child or adolescent, parents/guardians
Laboratory studies such as blood tests, x-rays, or special assessments, if needed. The child and adolescent psychiatrist will then develop a formulation. The formulation describes the child’s problems in terms that the parents and child can understand. The formulation combines biological, psychological and social parts of the problem with developmental needs, history and strengths of the child, adolescent and family.
Parents are often concerned that their child is not normal – and that they are to blame. They may wonder if they are silly to worry. They don’t know what’s wrong, and wonder if anyone can help their child. They have questions about treatments – including the cost. Parents also worry about how they will be viewed during the evaluation.
Please be assured, your child and adolescent psychiatrist is there to support your family, not to judge or blame. They will listen to your concerns, and help the child or adolescent — and your family – set the goals of the evaluation. If you have questions, we hope you will ask them. It’s important that parents understand the evaluation process.
When a problem is identified, the psychiatrist will recommend a specific treatment and a plan will be developed. You can be assured that your child and adolescent psychiatrist has your child’s best interests at heart – and will work with you and your child toward positive goals.