Childhood & Special Needs

Dr. Neal is a trained child and adolescent psychologist with over 30 years of experience diagnosing and treating depression, anxiety, OCD, school refusal, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorders, as well as issues related to divorce, family conflict and sexual abuse.

Children will find Dr. Neal approachable, highly interactive, and humorous. He is also passionate about working with teens, and challenges them to view therapy as one of most life changing experiences they can participate in. Through a respectful and engaging approach, he “earns the right to be heard” from even the most resistive teen, giving him a platform to speak wisdom and direction into the young person’s life. 

If a teen is highly resistant and refuses to engage, then Dr. Neal will sensitively reframe the refusal to talk a teen’s choice to not talk at that time. He reaffirms that he is not a third parent, an academic dean, or policeman. In order words, he lets the teen know he is not an “enforcer” but rather a safe haven where anything can be discussed and a solution can be sought. Sometimes, Dr. Neal will end the session early, in the hope that the teen will leave feeling respected, heard, not pressured and hopefully will come to view Dr. Neal as a person to trust and discuss what is on their mind. Many times this leads to a future session with less resistance.

For a family dealing with special needs, getting help is often more arduous than it should be. The medical and psychological community can be highly compartmentalized, with little coordination among various kinds of providers, clinics and hospitals. Navigating the system can be nightmarish for specialists, let alone for a family new to this arena.

Dr. Neal is committed to coordinating with all the various professionals and treatment services you’ve experienced. He can help you make sense of all past tests, assessments and reports you have already paid for, without repeating any testing. He can wade through the medical jargon and understand what needs to be done for you or your family member.

One of Dr. Neal’s specialties, which can only be developed over time, is called “differential diagnosis.” This is the ability to tease apart all the symptoms of a person, and artfully and scientifically name the accurate diagnosis or multiple diagnoses that a person has. Dr. Neal diagnoses accurately, the first time. He knows that many suffering people have been given multiple diagnoses, which leads to confusion. Repeatedly, Dr. Neal, has been sought out by other professionals to “break a case” for situations that are highly neurologically and psychologically complex.

Being in the field for over 35 years and staying on the cutting edge of new treatments has helped Dr. Neal to become a “Sherlock Holmes” for these complex cases. He himself does not diagnose alone. He has a strong network of highly experienced professionals he can communicate with for their sought-after opinions.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Neal, please go to or call 815-477-4727.


Suggested Reading:

Putting On The Brakes: Understanding and Taking Control of Your ADHD
By Patricia Quinn & Judith Stern

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
By Sean Covey

Guiding Your Teenager with Special Needs through the Transition from School to Adult Life: Tools for Parents
By Mary Korpi

Kids in the Syndrome Mix of ADHD, LD, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, Bipolar and More!: Tools for Parents, Teachers, and Other Professionals
By Martin Kutscher

Helping the Child Who Doesn’t Fit In
By Stephen Nowicki


Doug Neal


Dr. Neal has been in practice since 1981. He is passionate about helping his clients discover freedom and live the life they were created for. He works with... Meet Doug Neal