I’ve visited with a couple of Dallas families recently who hired professionals to work with them (or their children), only to realize later that those ‘experts’ lacked the qualifications and expertise they presumedly possessed. This made me wonder, how do you know if someone you hire or even follow on social media, is qualified to offer the assistance/help/advice they’re giving. In this new age of digital media, it’s easy to have a slick, alluring on-line presence. And there are few, if any, checks and balances. Anyone can hang out a shingle and claim to be ‘the best.’ So how are you to know?
As the old saying goes, ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.’ Here are three things to consider.
1. Pay careful attention to qualifications or lack thereof. Most of us (me included) go to the internet to research an issue or concern, a name we’ve heard recommended, etc. It’s easy to be swayed by a great looking website. As you’re vetting, look very carefully at the ‘About Me’ section of the website and check them out on LinkedIn as well. What degrees do they have, and in what subjects? What experience have they had? What professional associations do they belong to, and at what level? Whether you’re looking for a Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Academic Language Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or Educational Consultant, all of these professions have specific training programs and professional organizations that monitor their profession by recertifying members, requiring continuing education, and training in ethics. If you don’t see any of that listed, it’s a huge red flag.
2. However, some of the most well-respected professionals in Dallas do not have a website and are not on social media. They’ve built a strong reputation through their interaction with clients and in the professional community. As one of these off-line experts told me “if you need me, you’ll find me.” So don’t let a lack of online presence concern you. Instead, rely on my next point.
3. Get validation from professionals you trust. It’s easy to go with the flow. 500 followers on Twitter, 50 likes in a Facebook group with people chiming in ’He’s great – see him’ or ’She’s done this for years and is the best,’ does that make someone an expert? Ask your pediatrician, ask your child’s teacher/principal/counselor, get multiple assurances, and most importantly, trust your gut before you hire someone whose opinions may influence the course of your family’s life.
There are some fabulous professionals out there who can help you, your children, your entire family. I know because some of those experts have helped my family and me. We are forever changed because of them and, I’ll never be able to thank them enough. I want the same for you and your family. So research carefully before you put your trust in someone, listen to the people you know & trust, and rely on your gut feeling to guide you, and you won’t go wrong.
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