An autistic assessment can take place over some time. You may have to wait for one to be performed, after you have noticed some behavior that may indicate your child is on the spectrum. While you are waiting for an assessment, there are some things that you can do in order to help prepare.
Learn More about the Disorder: By learning more about autism, you will be able to be more prepared for the assessment and any follow up visits you have. You can start preparing questions and familiarize yourself with what it could mean.
Gather Information for Your Child: It will be much easier to keep everything in one place. Create a folder with medical records and any notes on previous developmental or behavioral evaluations. You can also include any notes that you have noticed about behavior, especially if you have observed it with different people and in different places. Any notes on what you consider your child’s weaknesses and strengths are can be very helpful. Bring this information to the autistic assessment.
Learn More about the Evaluation: Since assessments can have a few parts, they might be done by a team or maybe just by one provider. The assessment is likely to have a structured play-based evaluation, and your child may also need to complete some cognitive or thinking skill tests. Parents will also be asked some questions about behavior and development, and may be required to fill out some checklists. It may feel overwhelming and there is a lot of information with the assessment, but it’s important to remember that every piece helps make an accurate diagnosis. At the evaluation, you should be able to discuss the diagnosis and the findings of the assessment. You should also receive a written report.
Arrange Support: This can be a stressful time for any parent and you don’t have to go through it alone. Inviting a trusted friend to the assessment can be helpful to take any notes that you may miss, and to make sure that you get your questions answered. Talking about the situation with trusted friends or family can help and there are other resources for you, if you don’t want to talk about it with people you are close with.
Start Researching Intervention Services: An assessment may reveal that your child has some other developmental issues that could be helped by intervention services, ranging from speech therapy to physical therapy. You should know what the school district or state requires, since many of these services will be provided at no expense. Many times your child will have to be evaluated separately for these services, even with an autism diagnosis, so you don’t want to wait and delay getting help for your child.