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Evaluations: Making Sure Everyone is Prepared and Comfortable

You were concerned about your child’s development, and now she has an evaluation set up for assessment. It is a stressful and scary time, for both, you and for her. It can easily become an overwhelming experience, especially if you both feel underprepared and uncomfortable. There are a few simple things you can do to not only feel better prepared, but to make sure you both feel more at ease about the evaluation.

Be Prepared

Ask what to expect. When you find out that an evaluation is to be done on your child, ask for details. Knowing the process will not only allow you to be more comfortable, but will give you the knowledge to be able to help prepare him for what will happen on evaluation day.

Bring another adult. The process and information provided can be very overwhelming. Bring your spouse or another family or friend member to help absorb it all. Two sets of ears are better than one.

Be calm. Your attitude and behavior will affect your child. If you act overly concerned or stressed, he will be too.

Prepare information beforehand. The evaluators may send you paperwork to fill out before the assessment. If they don’t, make a list of any medicines/vitamins he is on, his age when he reached major milestones (i.e. sitting up, walking, talking,etc.) and any concerns or questions that you have. Evaluation day stress can easily make you forget to ask something important. If you write down your questions, then you have a "cheat sheet" which will allow you to make sure all your concerns get addressed and questions get answered.

Making Sure Everyone is Comfortable

The more comfortable your child is, the more accurate her results will be. No matter her age, or what type of evaluation she is having, they can be very stressful. Your direct involvement will depend on her age and type of assessment. If she is younger the 3, you will most likely be more involved than if your child is older.

Children tend to be more comfortable in situations that they know about, so don’t keep it from her. You don’t need to go into a lot of details, but make her aware that an evaluation is going to take place, and what type of things she should expect. Let her know that there are no right or wrong answers and to just do her best. Never say anything that may scare her, and NEVER tell her that you think something is wrong with her. Not only will it add stress, but can be very damaging to her self-esteem. If she seems to be having an "off" day on evaluation day, make sure you tell the evaluators, so they are aware.  

Sources: AutismSpeaks.org | AutismSupportNetwork.com | MyAspergersChild.com

Evaluations: Making Sure Everyone is Prepared and Comfortable
Shandy Marso, Contributor

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