When you move into the private sector of assessment and diagnosis timelines can vary widely. In most cases once you receive the referral you must call the Doctor or Specialist and set up an initial appointment. This in itself can take up to a few months. Once the initial appointment is done they will schedule a testing appointment (sometimes broken up into a few appointments). Again this can take another few months and in some cases up to a year and a half. My recommendation is don’t be picky with day and time. Take any appointment you can and periodically call to see if there have been any cancelations. You can also ask if they have a cancelation list and get on that.
With your appointment set what do you do now? Make sure you fill out any and all paperwork the doctor or Specialists sends you and turn it in as soon as possible. Call your insurance and make sure everything is covered. If it is not you can ask for an exception (even if you get denied you can appeal, which works a good amount of the time).
On the day of your appointment make sure you have taken the day off. Have your child eat a good big breakfast and let them know about the Doctor and what they will be doing. Have them wear comfortable clothes and have layers in case the office is hot or cold.
Must bring to the appointment:
- Directions to the office
- Insurance card
- Paperwork filled out and ready to turn in
- A list of questions you have
- Your child’s most comforting toy, book, blanket etc.
- Coloring book, crayons, journal, IPad, game, books etc. whatever your child enjoys doing
- Snacks, Snacks, Snacks!!!! Lots of healthy, non-sugary snacks and water.
- A book or work for yourself. You may be sitting for hours
- Wear comfortable clothes yourself, again you will be there for a long time.
Now that you have everything you need ready to go make sure you get there a little early. Plan for extra traffic, wrong turns, and no parking. The last thing you need is to wait 6 months for an appointment only to show up late and lose the appointment.
Once you have checked your child in you will have some time to yourself. I would recommend not leaving your child while they are being tested. You do not know how your child will be feeling or reacting to the testing. They tend to take breaks as often as the child needs and most likely will bring them to you for 10 minutes or so to have a snack and draw etc.
When the testing is done congratulate your child. They have been through an intense interview and testing and are sure to be mentally and physically exhausted. Take them out for a treat or the park. Spend some quality time with them and allow them to process what they went through and take it easy the rest of the day. This will benefit them and you as it will reduce the stress of the day and hopefully minimize poor behavior.
The Doctor or Specialist will get back to you with results and recommended interventions and next steps.