When to Refer

  • For children and adolescents with significant behavior problems, consider referring parents to a developmental-behavioral pediatrician or a mental health professional (e.g., child psychiatrist, child psychologist, clinical social worker), who can assist the family in developing a behavior plan for their child or teen.
  • Children and teens with symptoms of ADHD and depression or anxiety present particular diagnostic and treatment challenges. A mental health professional such as a child psychiatrist, child psychologist, or clinical social worker who engages with a child or teen in individual consultation and therapy may be able to help clarify diagnoses, develop a treatment plan, and stabilize symptoms. Medication interventions for a child or adolescent with ADHD and anxiety or mood symptoms can be complicated. Referral to or consultation with a child psychiatrist or developmental-behavioral pediatrician is recommended.
  • Children and teens with ADHD may also benefit from individual or group therapy that focuses on:
    • Learning impulse control
    • Building self-esteem
    • Acquiring coping skills
    • Building social skills
  • Psychoeducational testing should be considered to identify any learning disabilities that may be affecting academic performance.
  • Refer parents or siblings experiencing high levels of stress, difficulty coping, or psychiatric symptoms to a mental health professional such as a clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist.