Most parents only start the process of obtaining a diagnosis once the teacher makes certain observations and discusses it with them.
A good teacher will err on the side of caution so my advice is this:
Go and have your child assessed EVEN if you think that the teacher is talking a load of rubbish. Teachers spend A LOT of time with our kids and see them in a completely different environment and so I feel that their opinions and views about certain situations cannot be discounted. Even if there is no real issue, you have ABSOLUTELY nothing to lose by getting an assessment and, if there is no real problem detected, then at least you can rule things out and have a leg to stand on.
I must just add here that Teachers cannot diagnose ADD/ADHD. They can tell you what concerns them and WHY it concerns them and possibly speculate about the future but they cannot tell you that your child has xyz or abc condition or that he/she needs to be medicated, because they are NOT qualified to do so nor do they have the authority to do so. They can merely advise you to get an assessment and motivate their reasoning.
Also, those symptoms and indicators that I mentioned in this post can indicate any number of things. At LEAST 6 of those symptoms need to be present for a period of AT LEAST 6 months before any professional can even consider ADD/ADHD.
I am really lucky that both my sons received their respective diagnoses before they started at big school, but this could also only happen because I listened to the concerns of their teachers, and because my first priority was to do things in the best interests of my kids. I had no doubt in my mind that this was NOT about me, but about MY KIDS.
Getting an early diagnosis essentially means that a number of issues can be addressed and possibly corrected before school going age which in turn contributes to a smoother environment within the home and at school which in turn has fantastic spin-offs re: positive self-esteem and self-worth.
At the time when Child1’s issues became apparent I didn’t have medical aid. I STILL decided that I wanted to do this properly. And so, instead of paying R200 or whatever at the time for a consultation with a Paediatrician, I went and forked out about R1500 -(this was 8 years ago so it was A LOT of money for me) on an Educational Psychologist. At the time, I figured that an Educational Psychologist could do a thorough check of ALL issues and not just the obvious stuff like the hyperactivity. I truly believe that going to an Educational Psychologist for an assessment and subsequent diagnosis was (for us) the best decision ever and money well-spent.
For that price we had an initial consult as well as a full assessment – it lasted about 3.5 or so hours (they play games and do fun activities together), a follow-up consult and a very detailed report of the diagnosis and recommendations. We actually still have regular contact with our Psych and every time we hit a wobbly then I send her a mail or call her up. In fact, she was the first professional that I called for advice when Child2 got his ASD diagnosis. I recommend her to EVERYONE and I really am so lucky that we got her – in fact we are going to be seeing her soon because I want her to help me with some things for Child2.
There are other professionals who are also qualified to make a diagnosis, and there are pros and cons to using each professional – I guess one needs to weigh up everything before deciding which route you are going to go:
Psychiatrists – they can diagnose, they can provide counselling and prescribe medication.
Paediatricians – they can diagnose and prescribe medication but they don’t provide any form of counselling.
Neurologists – they can diagnose and prescribe medication but they don’t provide any form of counselling.
My personal favourite remains the Educational Psychologist because they also provide counselling which is exactly what one needs at a time when you get a diagnosis and realise just how big this thing is that you are dealing with. A psychiatrist can do the same plus provide meds but you are going to pay A LOT more money. At the time I felt that seeing a Psychiatrist was already pre-empting a particular situation and expecting the worst. BUT, that was my issue and others may feel differently.
Have you ever had to deal with an Educational Psychologist or a Neurologist? Do you prefer dealing with them as opposed to a Paediatrician? I certainly do. Even though they are SUPER EXPENSIVE. What do you think?