"We are going to a psychiatrist tomorrow to have our 7 year old son evaluated (who we suspect has asperger syndrome, high functioning). What can we expect to happen, and is there anything we should take to the appointment?"
Being well prepared for the evaluation can help you make the most of your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what you can expect from your son’s psychiatrist:
- Ask a family member or friend to join you and your youngster for the appointment, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Make a list of any medications as well as any vitamins or supplements that your youngster is taking.
- Write down any symptoms you've noticed in your youngster, including any that may seem unrelated to Aspergers.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help save time for the things you want to discuss most. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For Aspergers, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Are there any specialized programs available to help educate my son regarding social skills?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- What is likely causing my son’s behavior?
- What kinds of tests does my son need?
- What should I tell his school?
- What treatments can help?
- What's the prognosis for my son?
- Will he outgrow this condition?
- Would changes in diet help?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your psychiatrist, don't hesitate to ask additional questions during your appointment.
Your psychiatrist will probably ask you a number of questions too, including:
- Does anything seem to improve your son’s symptoms?
- Does your son have close friends?
- Have these behaviors been continuous, or occasional?
- Have you noticed a change in his level of frustration in social settings?
- What are some of your son’s favorite activities?
- What specific behaviors prompted your visit today?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your son’s symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms in your son?
- When did your son first crawl?
- When did your son first say his first word?
- When did your son first walk?
Because Aspergers varies widely in severity and signs, making a diagnosis can be difficult. If your son shows some signs of Aspergers, your psychiatrist may suggest a comprehensive assessment by a team of professionals. This evaluation will likely include observing your son and talking to you about his development. You may be asked about your son’s social interaction, communication skills and friendships.
Your son may also have a number of tests to determine his level of intellect and academic abilities. Tests may examine his abilities in the areas of speech, language and visual-motor problem solving. Tests can also identify other emotional, behavioral and psychological issues.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook