Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Initial Evaluations: A How-To Guide

Ok, when I started to suspect that something “wasn’t quite right” with Jonathan’s development, I knew that people would think I was crazy. Or paranoid. Or both. And with WAAAY to many years of education in child development, I was a prime candidate for the “Looking for Trouble” award. But when that naggy little voice just would not stop, I knew I had to have him evaluated. At the very least professionals could tell me I was crazy and paranoid.

So, what do you do when you have concerns about your child’s development? Whom do you turn to?

Good Question! Not that I have any answers, but here is what I did.

1. Emailed my old boss. Just for the record, I have a PhD in Developmental Psychology. Yeah, I know… see what I mean about too much education? My specialty is neonatal development, but while I was in school I worked as a clinical coordinator for an Early Intervention/Assessment Clinic for Autism. So my fears were not based on NOTHING. I emailed him my observations and concerns. He agreed I had reason to be concerned and recommended getting him evaluated by a psychologist or developmental pediatrician.

2. Emailed our regular pediatrician. Great guy, but he doesn’t check his email fast enough. I had already moved on to step 3. Lucky for me, he concurred with my concerns and recommended my step 3… which I had already done. Yah me!

3. Made an appointment with a Developmental Pediatrician at Children’s Hospital. Since I work there, it was easy for me to find one. Alas, it was April and the earlist appointment I could get was end of June. Not gonna fly, brother! TIP: If there is a long wait to get an appointment with any specialist, ask if there is a waiting list. Make your appointment, but then get on that waiting list and if you get that call… GO! Drop everything! Just GO! I did, and we got moved up to the middle of May! Yah us!

4. Made an appointment with a Speech Language Pathologist. I made it at the same time I made the Developmental Pediatrician appointment. We had that evaluation at the beginning of May.

5. Made an audiologist appointment. I mean, really…. What a simple answer if he couldn’t hear. (He can).

6. Made an appointment with Early Intervention. Every state is different, but ours is a Birth to Three program through the county. They did an initial screening, and three different evaluations. It was VERY through! We started this process at the beginning of May and we were done by the end of May. Let’s just say April and May were very tough months!

So here are my recommendations to anyone who has concerns about their child’s development:

Like any good high school cheerleader could tell you: BE AGGRESSIVE… BE -BE AGGRESSIVE!

Talk to your pediatrician first. They can often refer you to the right professionals in your area. We used a developmental pediatrician, but a pediatric psychologist would do well too. Even some school psychologists have the experience to evaluate young children. But ask questions about qualifications!

Call your local Birth-To-Three agency. If you aren’t sure how to locate one, call the school district. They should be able to refer you. Their services are free or low cost, and can often be done quickly.

Consider getting an evaluation from a Speech Language Pathologist. Sometimes you can get in quicker and often these evaluations are covered by insurance.

Don’t expect solid answers. Seriously. We still are not 100% sure what is going on with Jonathan. BUT… and here is the kicker… we have him in therapy and are learning how best to help him learn. It is a starting point. The evaluations and opinions are going to change. As we learn more about Jonathan, we get more confident in our feelings about his needs and are able to be advocates for him.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you checked out the Late Talkers board on Yahoo? Lots of parents there with similar stories.


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