How can I get a proper diagnosis for my child?
Concerned about your child’s development? The best first step is to schedule an appointment to discuss developmental concerns with your child’s pediatrician. During scheduled well visits pediatricians often run a quick screening to determine if there are legitimate concerns about your child’s behavior or development. Pediatricians also have a list of providers and specialists who can help you further if your fears and concerns are validated by the doctor.
Often, a pediatrician will recommend a specialist to go to. But what if a neighbor or acquaintance tells you about a diagnostician in your neighborhood? Or you see a sign up a few blocks down. Should you go ahead with any doctor or specialist who can diagnose? Location, insurance coverage, and using a doctor who others have used and are happy with are all important factors. But most of all, for your child’s immediate and ongoing needs, it’s important to find a doctor or specialist who you trust. Another thing you may want to know: the doctor’s experience, scope, and whether you get a report of the outcomes. Become an educated patient and go with the doc who best fits your needs.
Wait lists are real. When you call for an appointment, feel comfortable to ask how long the wait time is estimated. So even if you aren’t sure you will still need the appointment in 6 months’ time, schedule now. The reality is that it can be difficult to get an appointment sooner, so the sooner you book the appointment, the sooner you will see the doctor. You can also ask to be put on a cancellation list so you may end up with an appointment sooner.
There’s a lot of talk about virtual diagnostics. With wait times what they are, should you turn to virtual diagnostic options for your child? Here are some details to keep in mind when you start your journey. Virtual telemedicine is an available option for many and wait time is usually considerably less for a virtual appointment. Obviously, there are two sides to every coin, and virtual diagnostics are not any different. A virtual appointment might net a diagnosis sooner, but you may want your child to see a doctor in-person, too, to benefit from a full evaluation. Keep in mind that diagnosticians often schedule follow-up visits every 6 months or so, and you may want a doctor who your child can visit personally for ongoing care.
While there are often wait times for appointments, getting a proper diagnosis for your child is critical so that you can tap into resources available that can help them progress and meet important milestones! It takes a courageous parent to take the first steps of noticing concerning details and scheduling an appointment with a professional to take a look at your child and hear about your concerns.