Child Behavior Community
14.2k Members
Avatar universal

chosing a behavioral health specialist

My son is 8, single child, no father (or father figure) since he was born. He is at risk for bipolar disorder. He is exhibiting ADHD behavior at home, but not at school, pointing to possible pediatric bipolar disorder. I am looking for a professional to help me go through the process for a full psych evaluation and possibly therapy and/or treatment.
I believe that my son craves a male presence and don't know what to do. If I select a male doctor/therapist, could he project the love he would have for a father, generating a whole new problem? Or would it be a good thing for him to have this professional to talk to in a "man-to-man" way?
6 Responses
535822 tn?1443980380
go back to the forums page and look for child behavior forum on the right that is the expert/Doctor forum ,our excellent  Dr Kevin Kennedy will be only too glad to help you, Good Luck
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi.  Well,  a couple of things.  For finding a professional in your area, I'd do a couple of things.  First, your counselor in your school is an excellent resource for physicians and therapists that have worked with other children in the school.  You can start there and ask for any references you can get.  Also your pediatrician is well versed on patients seeking various therapies and psychiatric treatment outside of their general care.  You'll want to check with your insurance company as well to see who is in network for you.  

Most likely it will be a team of professionals that works with your son.  A psychiatrist for the medical end of his mental health issues, a therapist for the emotional end/ behavioral modification end, possibly an occupational therapist for life skills/social skills.  

I think for finding a male role model----------  this will require some work on your part. Do you belong to a church?  There is also the Big Brother's organization.  You can solicit for a mentor to your child.  It would be great if you had a brother or father that you could ask to get involved.  But if you do not, I'd go to safe places and see what you can find.  Even the father of one of your son's friends may be willing to help.  We have a little boy in our neighborhood that is living with his mother and grandmother and the dad is not in the picture much.  My husband has taught that little boy how to throw a ball, how to play soccer, the rules of football, how to sled down a hill without crying . . . you know, boys stuff.  He just comes along with our kids and my husband treats him the same.  Look for kind spirited people like that too.  
good luck.  I know it is scary when we are trying to find out how to help our kids.  But the upside is you are on track to do so and things will get better!
535822 tn?1443980380
Sorry I thought you also meant a professional on MH ...
Avatar universal
Thanks to both of you for your help. I will post on the expert forum to get an opinion as to the gender of a behavioral health health specialist for my son's situation.
I have gone the course already with the school system, met with school counselor, teachers, other caretakers. My son went through a year of occupational therapy for sensory integration dysfunction when he was 2. I'm well versed in parenting techniques. His father is bipolar with schizoaffective disorder, no longer in the picture, never been. I've done my homework and am at the point where I need to bring in a professional; psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, social worker? it doesn't really matter to me as long as s/he knows how to relate to children like my son.
I am in the process of selecting such a professional. I have limited resources and my insurance seems to have many more women than men so if I were to chose a woman, I would have more options. My initial approach was to have a male professional that my son could relate to "man-to-man", but I'm not sure it's a good idea... I'm afraid he might develop an inapropriate attachment to a father-figure... Whatever input you may have as moms is welcome.
13167 tn?1327197724
splatre,  I'm surprised to see that bipolar is a consideration with a child who exhibits ADHD at home but not in school.    To me,  that's a great thing when a child who struggles can manage to fit himself into a structured environment in school and succeed.

At home,  is he just kind of bouncing off the walls and difficult to direct,  or is it more severe than that?  

I think boys do crave a male presence.  Does your school/church have a cub scout den?  Or a soccer league?  How about men in your family like uncles or grandpa?
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for the input. Yes, ADHD symptoms that manifest in the "comfortable" environment (home) but not (or little) in the structured environment (school) when combined with family history of bipolar disorder is a big red flag. But he has not been diagnosed officially, so I still have hopes that I'm just looking at a defiant hyperactive kid who does well in school.

That's the process I'm in now: trying to find a specialist who is on my health plan to go through the psych tests/diagnosis process. The big issue is that there are very few male professionals in my health plan and the 3 that are there are all in their sixties/seventies...

All family is abroad in Europe. He already belongs to cub scouts but in such an environment, he interacts with the other boys more than the den leader. He gets very exzcited and has a great time... with the other kids. We did soccer but stopped that to focus on taekwondo. He looks up to his master but I don't think that's sufficient.

A few weeks ago, a old friend of mine stayed with us for a couple of weeks and even though he had very interaction with my son, my son asked about him constantly, wanting to spend time, play, or talk with him. That confirmed what I already knew.

I have a request in to Big Brothers. Right now, my question really is that given his need for a male role model/father figure, is it good or bad to get a male haveavioral health specialist to work with him to get a dioagnosis?
Have an Answer?
Top Children's Health Answerers
189897 tn?1441130118
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments