Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment

If your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a pediatric psychiatrist can help you and your child manage symptoms like aggression, anxiety, impulsivity and insomnia.

At Children’s Health℠, we see more children with autism spectrum disorder than almost any other center in the region, and our psychiatrists have the experience to know which treatments and strategies can best help your child.

What is a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment?

At Children’s Health, we see ourselves as partnering with families. We work hard to understand what you’re going through so we can support you long-term. In a psychiatric consultation, you and your child will meet with a psychiatrist to talk about your child and your concerns.

The psychiatrist will want to know what medications your child has tried (if any) and whether they were helpful. The psychiatrist can suggest medications that might help, in addition to other treatments that your child is already receiving.

If a psychiatrist prescribes medication, your child will take it only for the period of time that you and your doctor feel is necessary. We work with you to monitor how the medication is working and adjust it if needed.

What are the benefits of a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment?

A psychiatrist can help make daily life easier for your child and family. Your child may be referred to us because of:

  • Challenges in school, including being easily distracted
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Challenging behaviors
  • Trouble sleeping

A pediatric psychiatrist can help you and your child develop strategies to manage these behaviors. They may also prescribe a medication. These include medications that target irritability, aggressive behaviors, mood, anxiety, attention and poor sleep. Together with the other treatments that your child receives, psychiatric treatment can help improve your child’s behavior, schoolwork and family life.

What are the side effects of a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment?

Medications have different side effects, and your provider can explain what they are. We constantly weigh the risks of those side effects against the potential benefits. We only prescribe medication when we believe that the benefits for your child outweigh potential side effects. If your family decides medication is right for your child, we watch closely for side effects so we can adjust prescriptions if needed.

What to expect before a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment

Before the consultation, you will be asked to provide records of all past interventions, including medications and therapies.

What to expect during a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment

The psychiatrist will meet with you and your child. They will ask you about any concerns you have and how any problematic behaviors affect your child and family. The psychiatrist will want to know your goals for your child’s treatment. They will talk about options for therapy and medication, and about what you can expect from this treatment.

What to expect after a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment

Depending on the treatment plan that we develop for your child, we would meet three to six times a year to review any therapies, strategies and medications. We’ll also talk about how they’re working for your family. If your child is taking medications, we aim to keep them to a minimum and will only continue them if they’re helpful.

How do I prepare my child for a Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment?

Depending on their age and stage of development, you could explain to your child that they will be meeting with a psychiatrist who will be talking with them about therapy and medications that could reduce some of their symptoms. You might explain that the psychiatrist works with a lot of children and their families and that they will meet with you again in a few months.

What questions should I ask my provider about Psychiatric Consultation and Treatment?

Examples include:

  • What are the risks and benefits of the specific medications you have recommended?
  • How might my child experience the effects of the medication?
  • What side effects should I look for?