While summer is in full swing, it won’t be long before your waiting rooms and appointment calendars are filled with children getting ready for back to school. Pediatric and family providers are optimally positioned to ensure that children are either prepared for their first school experience or return to the classroom after summer break. Required school physicals may bring new children and adolescents into your practice. The Illinois school physical form now contains information about a child’s mental and emotional health that may need to be shared with schools. The comprehensive evaluation form can be found here.
Communication with schools about a child or adolescent’s social emotional and mental health needs is essential to their ability to learn and succeed in the classroom. Screening for mental health issues is the key to ensuring that children receive an appropriate plan of care. The Illinois DocAssist website has free screening resources available for use in the pediatric and family practice settings.
Untreated or under treated mental health issues in children can have significant impacts on their school performance and attendance leading to increased discipline procedures, failing grades, and grade retention. Research has found that approximately 25% of children with ADHD drop out of high school. (1) Over 70,000 children in the United States who receive services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act were suspended for ten or more days in an academic year, including students with anxiety, learning disabilities or autism. (2)
The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed resources to assist providers who are screening and treating children and adolescents with mental health issues. A fact sheet to assist with coding and documentation issues can be found here. Navigating confidentiality for mental health issues with children and adolescents can be daunting, especially when your patient would benefit from collaboration with additional clinicians and school staff to assist in planning for the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also compiled fact sheets and reference materials for compliance with HIPPA standards.
Illinois DocAssist consultants are available to guide you through screening, diagnosing and treating mental health concerns as your patients prepare for the new school year.
(1) Keilow, M., Holm, A., & Fallesen, P. (2018). Medical treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and children’s academic performance. PloS one, 13(11), e0207905. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0207905
(2) U.S. Department of Education (2018). 40th Annual Report to Congress on
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to receive more useful information like this. https://docassistillinois.org/about/newsletter-signup-form/