Self Esteem
About Judy
Press Room
Speaking Services

Got A Question?

click here

© 2001-2003
Judith Loseff Lavin
Links to Resources
My Story
Problem Solvers
The Chat Club
Parent to Parent
Contact Judy

Finding The Right Specialist

By Judy Loseff Lavin, M.S.W.
Author of Special Kids Need Special Parents

Finding the right specialist is no easy task, particularly when your child is in crisis. But so often, that’s the way it happens. You need a specialist and you need it NOW.

Even when you’re in a crunch, however, there are some things you can do to try to find a doctor or medical professional that can suit your needs. First of all, it’s crucial to get the person’s references. For example, if you need a surgeon, make sure that you talk to him about your child’s operation to find out if he’s has experience with the type of surgery your son or daughter needs.

Remember too, that surgeons use anesthesia. I always find it helpful to ask the surgeon who administers the anesthesia for the patients and at times, I’ve even requested a certain anesthesiologist, who’s work I know or who has worked with my child in the past.

If you are looking for a therapist—like a physical or occupational therapist--again, you want to know if the person has experience with your child’s issue. Usually, your doctor will recommend a physical or occupational therapist. But, you can also get references from friends or family.

As far as finding a psychotherapist, again you must rely on references from friends, family, educators, medical or other professional. In this instance, however, it’s crucial to interview the person you are looking to hire to make sure you are comfortable with his or her diagnosis as well as his or her treatment plan and personality.

In all instances, you should not ignore your gut feelings about the individual. Often, our gut feelings tell us an enormous amount about a person, regardless of his or her credentials. You need to deal with someone who you trust.

Another issue that often surfaces with medical care is differing and opposing ideas on how to treat situation. If you receive conflicting treatment approaches from the people you are interviewing, then it’s a good idea to get at least one or two additional professional opinions. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to the right answer for your child. Don’t be surprised if you nave to rule out a lot of options before getting to the right answer or answers.

It’s also important to get all of your specialists to work together as a team and one way to do that is through open communication. Talk to those you are working with and explain the situation. Usually those who are in service professions, like doctors and nurses, really do want to help and get the best result for your child. Often a pediatrician can work as a middleman to help you coordinate all of the people dealing with your child. Sometimes, however, the parents have to do this themselves.

All in all, when looking for a specialist for your child, make sure you do your homework. Ask for references, talk to potential candidates and don’t feel pressured to choose someone you are not thoroughly comfortable using.

For more information visit

Judith Lavin, M.S.W., author of Special Kids Need Special Parents, and a former journalist with the Chicago Sun-Times, recognized the need for an easy-to-read resource for physically and emotionally exhausted parents like herself, as well as their families, teachers, doctors and others who work with them. Lavin speaks to numerous organizations and parent groups around the nation, giving them inspiration and hope.

Lavin’s work has been featured in numerous publications such as the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, Washington Parent and Chicago Parent. In addition, she has appeared  on radio and TV news and talk shows around the U.S., including NBC-TV's Today show, PBS-TV's Small Talk for Parents and the CBS Radio Networks. You can visit Judy at