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- Why have my child evaluated? I don’t want a label.
I do understand parents’ concern about “labeling” their child. The reason I choose to specialize in psychological evaluation is because I believe that it is the best way to help children who think and learn differently than the norm reach their potential and achieve healthy functioning. If having your child evaluated has crossed your mind, it is likely because someone who works with your child has concerns about him or her. An evaluation can help tease apart what may be contributing to your child’s struggles. A diagnosis does not change who your child is, but it may help open the door to services and school supports. The ultimate goal is to determine the factors that are contributing to a child’s challenges and to enrich our understanding of how to maximize his or her strengths.
- What diagnoses are you qualified to give?
As a Licensed Psychologist, I have broad clinical training. I am trained to assess and diagnose the full spectrum of mental health disorders listed in the DSM-5. Of course, not all children who are evaluated receive a diagnosis. If a child’s symptoms do not meet criteria for a developmental or mental health diagnosis, I do not give one.
- Does autism have to be diagnosed by a medical doctor?
No. Licensed clinical psychologists are one of the types of providers who are able to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Other professionals who may do so include pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists. Most of the time, medical doctors refer to child psychologists for evaluations of ASD and other developmental/learning concerns. I have extensive training in the assessment of autism spectrum disorder, including 15 years of experience using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule- Second Edition (ADOS-2). The ADOS-2, along with detailed clinical interview, is considered Best Practice for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. If I diagnose an autism spectrum disorder, I will likely refer you to a developmental pediatrician and/or will consult with your primary care physician about medical aspects of the diagnoses. For more information about diagnostic evaluations for ASD, see the CDC website:
- Can you also assess for Asperger Syndrome?
You may have heard that with the 2013 release of the updated DSM-5, the diagnostic manual used by psychologists, a change was made in how these disorders are named. Previously, Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified were all separate diagnoses under the umbrella category of Autism Spectrum Disorders or Pervasive Developmental Disorders. This caused a fair amount of confusion. The new criteria collapse these disorders into one, called autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There are now more detailed specifiers that go along with the diagnosis to address a child’s needs in a more functional way.
- What ages do you assess?
I am able to assess children as young as 12 months and as old as 18 years. I also see adults for autism spectrum evaluations only.
- Do you take health insurance?
I do not currently accept insurance for diagnostic evaluations. I do accept credit cards.
I am happy to provide you with a detailed receipt following full payment, with the necessary insurance codes if you wish to seek reimbursement from your insurance provider. Please contact your insurance company in advance to find out if they reimburse for a diagnostic evaluation for ASD.
- How and when will I get the report?
Reports are typically ready to be mailed to you no later than 1-2 weeks after the parent feedback session. Bear in mind that this may be roughly 3-4 weeks after the initial parent intake session (i.e. week 1 = parent intake, week 2 = testing, week 3 = parent feedback, week 4-5 = report mailed).
- Can you provide treatment for my child after the evaluation?
The majority of my time is spent doing diagnostic evaluations, but I do take treatment patients on a very limited basis. At times I am able to offer social skills groups for children with ASD.
- Can you make referrals for other types of providers?
Yes, I can refer to private speech therapists, occupational therapists, physicians, and other mental health providers, though I may not know all of them personally. I am also familiar with the services provided by Children’s Hospital Colorado at all their locations, and can assist with those referrals as well.