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Preparing For An Evaluation

"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 an autism spectrum disorder.
  • 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 and high-functioning autism (HFA), 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 and HFA varies widely in severity and signs, making a diagnosis can be difficult. If your son shows some signs of the disorder, 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.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.



Anonymous said...

Our son was given a couple of tests at Loma Linda Behavioral Services, the WISC and the WIAT. They will probably have you give a physical and mental health history if you have not given one already. We took our medical records of our son with us.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what kind of questionnaire they will have you fill out, but be prepared to take some time on it. Lots of questions will make you really think about behaviors. Things you may not have even thought are related to Aspergers. At least that was my experience. There is no real test. My daughter chose not to communicate at all with the psychiatrist, which made it very difficult for her to see her verbal skills and intelligence. Prepare your child as much as you possibly can.

Anonymous said...

They will ask you questions on your childs devleopment. such as when they walked , talked, & crawled etc. Also about pregnency and about family history. such as any one in the family has it or other simular conditions. They should tell you if you need to bring anything. But, if he takes any medications you should bring those. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Mine was in the uk sat my son in a room with myself and two paediatricians in the next room watching through a two way mirror. Just did tests which looked like games to him which I could not understand significance of however they were fully explained to me after. My son was fine with it he's 7 also x good luck

Anonymous said...

Write everything you can think of from birth on, and bring a copy for the doctor and keep one for yourself. Write everything...even if you think it's not important. And even after the appointment, keep the sheet up to date with changes in behavior or meds...Good luck, this is the first step and the hardest one but you will see some results.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,
Just a letter from a lurker on your site who's enjoying tremendously the resources you share! It's funny that I saw this in my inbox today, as I just today began a talk for a women's group with a nutty scene at Walmart w/my daughter on the neuropsych spectrum! Your tips are fabulous as always.

Grateful for another coach and trainer out there working with all these exhausted special needs parents!

Take care,


Anonymous said...

When we went to our 1st apointment we brought a letter from our sons school stating what the teacher sees in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

I downloaded the questionnaires and got everyone in my son's direct environment to fill one out so I had everyone's perspective .. it was very interesting to learn what things others had noticed that I did not .. eg. He has to rub his nose a certain way when talking .. did not even cross my mind as I was so use to it .. I even sat down with my 8 year old at the time and helped him to fill out one now that for me was a big learning curve eg .. did not know that on certain days he has to eat his dinner in a clockwise motion from less favorite food to most favorite with nothing touching each other on the plate . I never thought to ask my son if he truly knew when someone is sad angry or happy.. this I learnt was very hard for him he seems to feel that if they are not laughing then they are angry all the time .. be strong open minded but it will allow you to learn so much about your child .. we are closer then ever now because of it :) good luck

Anonymous said...

sometimes they don't want a lot of info from the past - as crazy as that seems. We've been to several psych - my son has bipolar and aspergers, has been on meds since he was 3. I'm always ready to give them the whole story but some of them only want genreral milestones nd current info. Be prepared for a long intake, usually 90 minutes or so. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Hutten: I am a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Illinois Center for Autism in Fairview Heights, IL. I have found your website be a very valuable resource. I was wondering if I could have permission to copy off some of your blog articles from time to time to share with a few of our parents with children with Asperger's and High Functioning Autism. Not all of them have access to a computer, and I feel they would find the information you provide to be extremely helpful.

Mark said...

Sure long as you include in the print-outs that the articles came from

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...