FINDING A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST

Teams that treat children with DSDs at major medical centers often have a child psychologist on staff who specializes in helping children with DSDs. You might want to try contacting one or more of these centers to see if they have someone who can help you. You can also contact your state’s psychological association (for example, in Florida you would look for contact information for the Florida Psychological Association), and ask them for recommendations.

Outside of major medical centers, it is unlikely you will be able to find someone who specializes in the needs of children with DSDs, because that specialty is fairly new. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (http://www.aasect.org) maintains a list of counselors. Sometimes parents have found it useful to work with a clinician with experience in trauma issues.

It is most important that you find a psychologist that you and your child like, trust, and respect. The person with the most experience with DSDs may not necessarily be the person you and your child feel most comfortable working with. Use your child’s and your own instincts to decide who you will turn to for help. If you find it difficult to get coverage under your health insurance system for the child psychologist, ask the psychologist to explain to the insurer that your child was born with a DSD. This sometimes helps.

If your child is having gender issues, you can ask around for someone with experience supporting children with non-traditional gender identities and children who feel they were assigned the wrong gender. So, you could ask for someone with a specialty in gender identity, in identity issues, or in sex therapy. You might also want to try getting a referral through the Harry Benjamin Association (http://www.hbigda.org). Clinicians who are members of the Harry Benjamin Association are skilled at working with gender identity issues. They also are more likely than others to be part of the network of providers who help clients with transition. This may be of help if your child decides that transition is what he or she needs.