Choosing a Psychologist or Social Worker for your Special needs Child

Having a special needs child can be one of the biggest challenges of the dedication and love of any parent. With sometimes incredibly demanding needs, it takes all that a parent has to help their child out sufficiently, while still being able to provide for the rest of their children and family. This of course can wear down even the strongest of parents over time. This is why it is important that a parent take advantage of outside sources in order to better help them meet the needs of their child. These outside sources will not only provide the parent with insight, but may be able to help the child advance mentally and physically so that they parent may have a somewhat easier time working with the child on a general basis.

The important thing however for the parent to remember is that they can’t just take their child to just anyone. They have to make sure that this person is truly qualified. While there are numerous social workers that will help your child out and many psychologists that would be more than happy taking your money, the reality is that if they aren’t trained to work with special needs children and could do far more harm than good.  So the most important thing that you need to do is check to make sure that the doctor is licensed in the care of special needs children. In most states this is going to require an additional certification or training before they should have any interaction with special needs children.

When you narrow down your choices, make sure that you take the time to look through their references.  Any good psychologist should have a healthy list of references or credentials that will show their knowledge in the subject area.  Many of them will not only have experience in the field, but will have been published in professional journals as well.  All of these credentials show that not only that the psychology is good at what they do but that they also have a passion for it.  A passionate psychologist is typically going to give much more attention to your child and will typically provide the greatest results as they are going to put in the extra effort to ensure success.

Once you have found a potential fit, make sure that you monitor your child before and after visits. As many professionals will want to work with your child one on one so that can achieve better results without your presence effecting the outcome, you are going to need to truly monitor how your child acts before and after the visits. This is important in recognizing the quality of the professional. If you notice virtually no change in the mood or a positive change in the mood or activity of your child, then most likely these professionals are doing their job. However, if you notice a negative slide, then most likely the professional is doing a horrible job and you should consider changing your choice of professionals immediately.  You have to remember that you aren’t limited to your first choice of psychologists.  There are a substantial number of professionals and you shouldn’t simply settle when you don’t feel they are doing their job effectively. 

The main thing to remember is that your child should be progressing if you aren’t noting any real results, then nothing is happening in these sessions that are beneficial for your child. If that is the case, you need to communicate your concerns with the professional. If they aren’t able to fix this, then you should find a professional that can do something for your child. The reality is that you should always be noticing some form of improvement whether it be minimal or incredibly obvious.

You should also ask about videotaping the sessions. Many professionals will allow you to tape the sessions so that you can watch what is going on during these meetings with your child. This will allow you to better understand what is being done so that you can attempt to better serve your child at home. Plus it gives you a better idea of what is being done while in these sessions.

If you notice anything suspicious question it. This is your right as a parent. Make sure that you are supportive of your child, but always make sure that you are aware of how they are changing over time. By monitoring their sessions carefully you can discover whether or not there is any benefit to using a particular professional or whether you need to move on to someone else.