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Before tackling the complicated process of treating your child’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, you need to have an accurate diagnosis to confirm the symptoms your child is exhibiting are truly, unequivocally ADHD. For some people, the area you live in and financial position you’re in grants access to the physicians, psychologists, and experts that make identifying and treating ADHD as simple and efficient as possible. Even with those advantages, however, adolescent diagnosis and treatment for ADHD is never easy. Parenting coach and educator Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, spoke to Kids in the House about just how heavily socioeconomics determine accessibility to diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
“To really assess thoroughly and completely what’s going on with your child, it requires a private evaluation, which can be extremely expensive and cumbersome, and not necessarily available in all communities,” says Taylor-Klaus, co-founder and CEO of ImpactADHD.com. “You’re going to find it easily in the cities. It’s going to be a lot harder in the fly-overs.”
Depending on where you live, this means not only will there be evaluation fees, but travel expenses and time taken off of work.
The need for a private evaluation is the result of a nationwide public school system that views ADHD diagnosis from a perspective much different than that of parents.
“The complication is that the school systems aren’t designed to diagnose ADHD. The process in the school system and the involvement of the school psychologist is about identifying eligibility for services,” explains Taylor-Klaus.
Whereas parents just want to know what is troubling their child so that they can find a solution, the school system is set up to dole out services to those who qualify. A formal evaluation from an outside, objective professional is usually needed to make sure your child’s needs are met– and correctly identified.
This is a great solution in theory, but not always feasible. This is where socioeconomics come into play.
Wealthy, high-achieving communities are more likely to have private evaluators for children with learning disabilities. As of now, this type of practice is relatively niche. The second obstacle is price. No matter what part of the country you live in, these sessions can easily cost upwards of $1,000 out of pocket– and are likely to be much more. Unfortunately, there are many families in need of these services for which this just isn’t an option financially.
Attention deficit disorder may not discriminate based on socioeconomic status, but its diagnosis certainly does. Getting the right professionals to evaluate your child relies heavily on the family’s location, financial situation, and quality of the school system. All of these represent the socioeconomic hurdles that are in place even before the complicated, potentially costly process of determining appropriate, individualized treatment.
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