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What to expect during an autism eval for an older child?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My son was referred to the autism clinic at the children's hospital. He's 7 years old and most of the discussions I see here seem to be about much younger children in regards to getting the initial diagnosis.  I'm hoping someone could give me an idea of what to expect.  Like what kinds of testing they will be doing and who all he'll see?  If he's on the spectrum, it would be on the much higher functioning end.  We were originally referred to psychiatry to discuss anxiety meds, but they think it would be useful to see if there's an underlying issue along with the anxiety before we go any further.

 

So, like I said, he's 7 and his main quirks are toe-walking (90% of the time probably, he'll be starting PT next week), tics (right now it's incessant throat-clearing but it changes), some obsessive behaviors (asking a million questions about one topic before moving on and concerning things like worrying about his weight and feeling a need to diet), an atypical stutter and a speech delay, not developing social skills he should have by now, despite us modeling these behaviors and plainly laying out what is expected of him (manners, etc), he prefers the company of adults and normal kid antics annoy him terribly, he doesn't like to be touched even lightly unless it's on his terms (he'll hug us, but if I pat his shoulder to tell him "good job" he acts like I hit him), he's very bright and working a grade or two ahead in reading and math, although writing is a struggle because he has difficulty organizing his thoughts.  And of course there's the anxiety.

 

I have pretty bad anxiety as well (social and general), and have my whole life. I probably would have been diagnosed on the spectrum as a child but my mom wouldn't let them "label" me.  I'm sure I have SPD as well (I also can't stand being touched, among other things).  His dad is also socially awkward and has OCD and tics.

 

Oh and he's been homeschooled thus far.  We've had problems with that and had to ditch his last therapist because she kept blaming everything on homeschooling. I don't buy it because his dad and I were both public schooled the whole way and it didn't help us any, as far as I can tell. Also, he's been high-strung and very needy since day one, so no one can tell me it's because I neglected to put him in daycare at 6 weeks! LOL  Which reminds me, he's also been treated for a feeding disorder as well (which began in infancy). He seemed to be past that as of about 6 months ago, then the worry about his weight cropped up (he's average height and weight, btw).

 

 


Edited by bandgeek - 4/28/12 at 10:35am
post #2 of 6

It can vary a bit depending on what kind of professional you see, but here was our experience with a 5 year old for his initial eval:

 

A 2-hour parent intake interview with lots of questions about his development and our concerns. We also filled out a bunch of questionaires about functioning, etc.

 

A 2-hour testing session with him in the office, included an IQ test and the ADOS, which is the gold standard test for diagnosing ASD.

 

A 2-hour school observation. I think this is particularly important with kids who are more subtly affected. They can look great with grown-ups, since the deficits are primarily social and show up best in unstructured play with peers.

 

A 2-hour session where we got the explanation of the diagnosis. We got the report -- about 20 pages long -- a few weeks later.

 

We also had a separate OT eval in the same clinic.

 

Does this help? We told our son that everyone's brain works different and that the psychologist was going to help give us more information about how his brain works. He did pretty well with the testing and the psychologist gave him breaks and snacks, when he needed them.

post #3 of 6

We just recently had our 7 year old diagnosed with high functioning autism and he is homeschooled as well.  He had about 6 hours (broken up over a few weeks) of testing  I also had to fill out a questionnaire on his behavior and when he started walking, talking, etc.  We went through a neuropsychologist.

post #4 of 6

We just recently had our 7 year old diagnosed with high functioning autism and he is homeschooled as well.  He had about 6 hours (broken up over a few weeks) of testing  I also had to fill out a questionnaire on his behavior and when he started walking, talking, etc.  We went through a neuropsychologist.

post #5 of 6

My son had a speech evalution, IQ testing, an ADI-R (parent interview),and  an ADOS (child observation). He also did some talk sessions with his psychologist, who also just talked with me. The psychologist did not observe at school, but also looked at his school reports (Montessori, so they were narrative reports, rather than report cards), along with the results of his COGAT and Iowa Basics from school. 

 

 

post #6 of 6

With my DD's last eval, I had so much paper work to complete that I about passed out when I saw the stack. Honestly, it took 3 1/2 hours for me to fill out the various forms.

 

With an older child, talking to them about what is happening, why, what they should expect is part of our job. I told my DD that we were doing some special test to better figure out how her brain worked so that we (her dad and I, her teachers, etc) could make her life work better for her. She totally knew that her life was working out very well and that she was different. Those weren't things we could keep secrets if we had wanted to.

 

I explained that she would do a series of games/tasks/brain teasers, but that each section would just get harder and harder until she couldn't do them anymore. She shouldn't take getting stuck or confused as a sign of how she was doing because she would not be able to Gage that way.

 

I also said that the woman she would be working with really likes working with kids and that we would go for ice afterwards thumb.gif

 

My DD really enjoyed her eval. She likes adults one on one, and it got her out of school, which at the time, she really hated.

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