What to Expect from an Autism Center Evaluation – Part II

Autism Center After our first visit to our new Autism Center (see What to Expect from an Autism Center Evaluation Part I), we returned a month later to regroup with the psychologist and a developmental pediatrician (OD).  The OD gave our son a neurological evaluation and observed his language, social skills and behaviors.

After the neurological evaluation, a office nurse played with our son in another room while the psychologist and the OD  reviewed all of the test results to date and collaborated with us on recommended next steps. As it turned out, my son’s original PDD-NOS diagnosis was updated to high functioning autism with an attention deficit disorder.  The topics we covered in the post-evaluation results conference were comprehensive and included:

–  Medication.  My husband and I were leery of trying meds on our son, but the doctors helped us thoroughly weigh the advantages against the risk of side effects.  As a group, we agreed to test a very low dose of  medication to see if would help improve my son’s attention in the short term.

– Educational Placement.  We were also concerned that our son might be better off at a private school designed specifically for children on the autism spectrum, but were delighted when the doctor informed us that his current  placement in a  general education classroom with a part-time para was a good fit for him.

Therapy. We did find a few surprises.  We had discontinued occupational therapy the year before, but were informed that our son still had balance and fine motor issues.  The recommendation was made to re-instate OT, continue intensive speech and language therapy, and add social groups. When we mentioned that our son was becoming averse to pull-out service at school, the team directed us to an extensive and thoroughly vetted rolodex of private providers that could provide in-home services.

Assitive Technology. The team also recommended assistive technology screening to help our son with his reading and writing.  The screening, we learned, could be conducted through our school district, at the center or through an private occupational therapist.

– ‘Just-to-make sures’. To rule out any co-morbidities, the doctors also  recommended scheduling at our convenience an MRI and a blood draw for DNA testing.

-Other. We were also given the name of the center’s social worker to provide parenting support;  resources for sensory integration, swimming lessons, and even a parent mentor, which will be added this fall!

But the best, most wonderful part of the entire experience was to hear the doctor say “your son’s prognosis is good,” It has taken eight looooong years to hear such positive words. Of course, I believed that my son would find his way despite his autism diagnosis, but it was nice to finally hear it from an MD. And so, the outcome was well worth the fourteen hours of paperwork, surveys, evaluation and conferences.  For once, my husband and believe that we have a comprehensive view of our son’s strengths, weaknesses and needs.

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L. Mae Wilkinson
Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.
L. Mae Wilkinson


Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.

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