On Your Mind: Answer to local mom’s question

NOTE: The following is an anonymous note we received from an nwaMotherlode reader who asked this mental health question about how best to help her daughter. This is Tom’s response to the reader’s question. Please feel free to use the anonymous form (at the bottom of this post) to send additional questions to our local counselor.

Dear Tom,

My 20 year old daughter has had various challenges over the last six years or so… mostly social, and leading to problems in school with her grades.

She was in counseling for a year or so, but no diagnosis was actually made and, when my mother became ill with cancer, my focus turned to her and my daughter’s counseling was abandoned. My feeling is that she has Asperger’s Syndrome, and she definitely has some problems with self-image and anxiety. Since she’s older, I’m not sure how to go about helping her find a counselor who can deal with these things for adults. Any suggestions?

Dear Mom,

I’m so sorry to hear your daughter is having some challenges right now. It’s not uncommon for people her age to face a variety of challenges — social, emotional, physical, spiritual — as they continue to grow, change, and develop into the mature adults they will ultimately become. You mentioned your daughter had counseling previously, but no specific diagnosis so here’s what I would recommend: Start with a visit to a local primary care physician (family doctor), just to make sure there’s nothing happening biologically or physically that might be contributing to your daughter’s challenges.

Then, for counseling, the Schmieding Developmental Center in Lowell may be a resource. They primarily serve children; however, they may be a resource or know of other counselors in the community who could help your daughter.

And certainly Ozark Guidance could help. We would have your daughter complete an initial visit or assessment at our Springdale or Bentonville location, which is where we serve adults on an outpatient basis. Please call 479-750-2020 and we’ll give you all the information you’ll need.

I know how tough this must be on top of what you’re going through with your mom’s cancer diagnosis, so I commend you for trying to reach out and help your daughter at the same time. Give yourself credit for that, and be sure you’re taking care of yourself as well. I hope you’ll find the help you need for your daughter very soon.


Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. He has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

Tom would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback. Tom will be back each month to answer another woman’s question.

Disclaimer:  This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.