A child psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of childhood and adolescent behavioral and psychological disorders. Psychiatrists generally allow for at least one hour interviews in their evaluation, with an eye toward the diagnosis and determination of medication needs.
The majority of psychiatrists prescribe medication as their sole form of treatment and do not provide psychotherapy or behavioral treatment. Many psychiatrists, however, will educate parents regarding the need for psychological and behavioral treatment. After the initial evaluation, the psychiatrist will schedule follow-up appointments to assess the effectiveness and the side effects of the medication. Once the medication is stable, most psychiatrists will have follow-up appointments every three to six months.
Because there is no medication to treat Asperger’s Disorder, your child may never require the services of a psychiatrist. Some children and teens with Asperger’s Disorder have a secondary diagnosis that is responsive to medication, such as ADHD or depression. In such cases, a psychiatrist may be appropriate if you are considering medication as an addition to your child’s treatment plan. Some children with Asperger’s Disorder do not have a second disorder but have behavior problems that may be severe enough to warrant a psychiatric evaluation.